NEW DELHI: Taking note of the rising cases of forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation of women and children, the Centre is planning to set up a dedicated anti-human trafficking wing under a central investigation agency like the National Investigation Agency. Functioning under the ministry of home affairs, Rs 324 crore is proposed to be allocated from the Nirbhaya Fund by the women and child development ministry as this is also being seen as a major ‘women safety’ issue.
“The WCD had written to the home ministry earlier asking it to create a dedicated set up within a investigating agency like NIA to probe trafficking cases and coordinate investigation into trafficking networks operating across states and beyond India,” sources in MHA said.
“The ministry has reverted saying that it was agreeable on designating an agency under it for the job. While it has not yet finalised NIA as its choice yet, it appears most suited for thess job. Once the WCD ministry formalises the proposal and prepares a Cabinet note in this regard, the home ministry will have to assess how NIA needs to be empowered under the law to investigate trafficking crimes,” said a senior home ministry official.
The planned anti-trafficking wing will give a boost to efforts of investigators when the proposed Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2017, becomes a reality. A group of ministers (GoM), at present examining the bill, may approve expansion of the definition of trafficking to include persons who are smuggled to foreign countries in the garb of labour for jobs but end up as victims of abuse and exploitation.
Also the structure of advisory board of the proposed National Commission on Trafficking in Persons under the bill may be reworked to enable better inter-departmental coordination. The bill, referred to a GoM chaired by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, has completed its meetings and the final draft is expected to be approved soon so that it can be presented before the Union Cabinet.
The WCD ministry is hopeful of introducing it when the budget session resumes after recess in March, sources said.
Source : timesofindia