Survivors seek early passage of trafficking Bill

Thirteen-year-old Sujata (name changed) fell in love with a mechanic and eloped with a 22-year-old man discontinuing her studies.

Much to her disbelief, she was sold to a brothel. She tried to escape with the help of one of the persons who used to visit it only to land in another sex workers’ den before she was rescued during a raid by the police.

Other girls sharing space with her in a rescue home run by NGO HELP at Machavaram, near here, has a similar tale of woes to share with
The Hindu
here. Most of them suffer from post-traumatic stress and take months and even years to overcome the bad past.

Gearing up to leave for New Delhi coinciding with the monsoon session of Parliament, the victims of human trafficking who have formed an organisation ‘Vimukti’ to collectively work for resolution of their problems say “we will return only after seeing that the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018, is passed without any further delay.”

“While we struggle to make a living on our own or without any rehabilitation programme, the traffickers continue their old ways after obtaining bail as the trial goes on for long years without conviction of the accused ,” laments one of the victims taking a break from her tailoring work.

“We were told the Bill provides for compensation within a month of their rescue and stringent punishment to traffickers, including imprisonment for 10 years and a fine of Rs. 1 lakh,” adds another survivor who hopes to see the victim-centric Bill adopted by Parliament during the monsoon session itself.

“We want speedy trials through special courts, a separate police wing to exclusively deal with the social menace of human trafficking with an iron fist,” they say, adding the Bill, drafted some two years ago should see the light of day at least now.

The Bill for the first time provides for safeguards for trafficked persons through a national anti-trafficking bureau at the national-level , explains HELP director N.V.S. Rammohan Rao.

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