Anti-trafficking bill maintains distinction between trafficking, smuggling of migrants: WCD

NEW DELHI, July 30: The Women and Child Development Ministry today said the anti-trafficking bill maintains a “clear distinction” between trafficking and smuggling of migrants and excludes “consenting adults from its purview”.

The Ministry gave the clarification to UN experts who expressed concern that the bill was not in accordance with International Human Rights Laws.

It was stated in a statement issued jointly by Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, and Urmila Boola, Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, that the Trafficking of Persons Bill, 2018, does not give due consideration to the rights and needs of victims and their protection and proper rehabilitation.

The Ministry said the statement also states that the bill seems to “conflate sex work and migration with trafficking”.

It has clarified that the concerns expressed by the experts seem to be “emanating from a lack of understanding of the bill in question”.

The Ministry said the bill maintains a “clear distinction” between trafficking and smuggling of migrants and does not criminalise migration.

“It is the trafficker made liable under the bill, who promotes irregular and exploitative migration, and not the migrant. Exploitation has been made the key parameter to constitute the offence of trafficking,” it said.

The Ministry also said the bill excludes “consenting adults from its purview”.

“While it criminalises trafficking for the purpose of pushing a woman into sex work, it does not punish the act itself. At no point is the victim held as a criminal, or detained against his or her will,” it said.

Hence, the bill is in conformity with various international standards such as the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the UNODC Model Law against Trafficking in Persons and the OHCHR Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human Trafficking, the Ministry said. (PTI)