Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi today hailed the passage of the anti-trafficking bill in Lok Sabha, saying the smooth passage is the evidence of collective moral conscience and political will of India's leaders who have risen above party lines to protect its people.
Members cutting across party lines supported the bill.
Even as Congress and CPI(M) demanded that the bill be sent to the standing committee, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said "the bill is long overdue ... The law is victim centric and conviction rate will hopefully improve after the bill is enacted".
The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018, provides for confidentiality of victims, witnesses and complainants, time-bound trials and repatriation of the victims.
Satyarthi hailed the passage of the anti-trafficking bill in Lok Sabha.
"Trafficking of innocent children, women & men is the biggest threat against humanity. The Indian Parliament has taken a strong first step to end this menace by passing Anti Trafficking Bill 2018 in Lok Sabha today," Satyarthi tweeted as he thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maneka Gandhi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
"Smooth passage of Anti Trafficking Bill 2018 in Lok Sabha today is the evidence of collective moral conscience and political will of India's leaders who have risen above party lines to protect its people from this heinous form of slavery that exists on our sacred land," he added.
"The Anti Trafficking Bill 2018 is a progressive legislation that seeks to provide for a comprehensive solution to trafficking in persons in India, that goes beyond it criminalisation. I call upon Rajya Sabha MPs to echo the same sentiment & extend their support for this landmark bill," he said.
Sunita Krishnan, a social activist, also welcomed the bill saying, the unity in the parliament has sent a huge message across.
"It was long overdue but it is great that it was finally passed," she said.
Ministhy S, Commissioner of Food Safety in UP government who has been closely associated with rescuing children caught in the trafficking ring, has also welcomed the passage of bill, saying it is an excellent news.
"I believe that it has many provisions which addresses a lot of convergence issues including rehabilitation, victim support and compensation and fixing responsibilities at different levels," she said.
However, the bill received mixed response from others.
Certain civil societies raised concern over the bill, saying the bill is replete with problems and adopts a flawed approach towards the problem of trafficking, especially the weak and the marginalized.
"Many of these problems were alluded to by Members of Parliament, who demanded that the Bill be referred to a Standing Committee in Parliament," the All India Network of Sex Workers said in a statement.
Another activist Kusum Kumari has said that all important and far-reaching Bills in Parliament are referred to a Standing Committee. Why was the Trafficking Bill treated as an exception? The Government's tearing hurry and avoidance of the Standing Committee shows absolute disregard for democratic processes and parliamentary procedures".
The bill provides for confidentiality of victims, witnesses and complainants and time-bound trials and repatriation of the victims.
It proposes to create institutional mechanisms at district, state and central levels. It calls for punishment ranging from 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine not less than Rs one lakh.
This bill, when passed will be the only legislation dealing with all form of human trafficking.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)