India: Government Introduces Comprehensive Human Trafficking Bill

India’s Ministry for Women and Child Development has introduced draft legislation that it says would ”unify” existing anti-trafficking laws, strengthen the prosecution of traffickers, and provide greater protection and support for survivors of human trafficking. In particular, the Ministry said the bill would shield trafficking victims from criminal prosecution, and instead would recognize them as survivors “in need of assistance.” The bill would establish anti-trafficking committees to supervise the protection, prevention, and victim support efforts authorized by the new law, as well as create a special investigative agency to bolster prosecution efforts. The draft proposal calls for more shelters, special courts to handle trafficking cases, a fund to aid survivors, and reimbursement of victim wages. 

A group of Indian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including the India Alliance for Child Rights have called the government’s draft law “well-intended” but said the bill was not strong enough. The groups said that in particular, the bill “did not define what human trafficking is and it must do so in conformity with internationally accepted interpretation and standards.” They also said bill must do more to address the needs of trafficking survivors.

The Ministry is accepting suggestions on the bill until June 30, 2016. The bill could come before Parliament before the end of the year. The group of Indian NGOs has requested the government convene an expert working group to review and re-draft the law.


Compiled from: India Needs Stringent Law To Combat Human Trafficking, The Pioneer (June 20, 2016); Reuters, India Unveils First-Ever Comprehensive Draft Anti-Human Trafficking Law, Indian Express (May 31, 2016).