In the light of the alarming rise in cases of trafficking and forced labour in the country due to further impoverishment of poor families, Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi has demanded urgent passage of the Anti-Trafficking Bill in the upcoming monsoon session of the parliament without further delay.
The passage of the bill will fulfil the demand of 12 lakh Indians who marched 12,000 kms across 22 states with Satyarthi in 2017, demanding a strong law against trafficking. To voice their support for the demand, several activists, members of the civil society organisations and survivor leaders will be reaching out to Parliamentarians of their respective states soon, according to a press release by Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation.
The current pandemic has led to an aggravation of the vulnerabilities of the marginalised children in India. They are now much more prone to various kinds of exploitation especially trafficking and child labour. Bachpan Bachao Andolan, a sister organization of KSCF, has rescued more than 9,000 trafficked children and 260 traffickers from trains, buses and factories along with law-enforcement agencies since the beginning of the pandemic from across the entire country, the release said. Children have thus become the biggest victim of the pandemic with the trafficking of children becoming much more rampant.
“A strong anti-trafficking law is the moral and constitutional responsibility of our elected leaders, and a necessary step toward nation-building and economic progress,” Satyarthi said. “As long as children are bought and sold at lesser cost than cattle, no country can call itself civilised. COVID-19 has caused a rise in trafficking, especially of women and children. We cannot take this lightly. A law for prevention, timely investigation, punishment for traffickers, and the protection and rehabilitation of survivors is a matter of urgency.”
Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation)) Bill, 2021 covers the various aspects of trafficking by including various offences pertaining to trafficking, including aggravated forms of trafficking. It creates a dedicated institutional mechanism at district, state and national level to prevent and counter trafficking, and also for the protection and rehabilitation of victims of trafficking.
(Picture courtesy: Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation)