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Kailash Satyarthi Demands A Comprehensive Anti Child-Trafficking Law

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Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Friday demanded a comprehensive law that prevents trafficking and all its associated facets including child labour, bonded labour and sexual exploitation, while also ensuring protection of victims and ensuring their rehabilitation. He was speaking at National Consultation on Eradication of Bonded Labour and Trafficking in New Delhi. Satyarthi urged that the offenders of child trafficking should be convicted within 30 days.

“The victim must also be rehabilitated and monetary compensation should reach him or her within 30 days,” he said. “While the government has taken great strides in building policy framework against trafficking, huge gaps continue to exist with respect to prevention, protection of trafficking, effective rehabilitation of victims and conviction of offenders.

The key lies in recognising that these crimes are not disparate offences but are different forms of slavery. Convergence of efforts at the Central, State and District levels among various agencies for rehabilitation is essential for complete elimination of child trafficking,” he added. Satyarthi got all enforcement and monitoring agencies in child protection, including senior officials of Ministry of Labour and Employment, Women and Child Development, chairperson and members of National Commission on Protection of Child Rights and State Commissions of Child Rights, members of State Child Labour Commissions and all stakeholders to pledge to eradicate child trafficking and bonded labour during the one day consultation programme.

Satyarthi also welcomed the recent developments by government towards a stronger policy framework on child trafficking, child protection and bonded labour and cautioned the government that success of these initiatives being taken now would hinge on implementation and accountability mechanisms. The Nobel Laureate demanded that the states adopt the Bonded Labourers scheme and the Juvenile Justice rules as soon as the central model rules are notified.

“The benefits of new legislations will only reach the most neglected child, when processes and procedures of implementation are strengthened and accountability is ensured. Tough initiatives towards creating an economic deterrent, along with strong institutional mechanisms are the need of the hour,” he added.

The event was organised by Bachpan Bachao Andolan, where sessions were held on issues such as trafficking for bonded labour and child labour; trafficking for sexual exploitation and rehabilitation of victims of trafficking and effective coordination among agencies.

Shankar Aggarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, addressed the Consultation and said, “Growth will remain meaningless unless it is inclusive and promotes the development of disadvantageous sections of the society. The Government of India is committed to eradicate all forms of exploitation through strong deterrent and rehabilitation mechanisms for victims.

” Senior government officials threw light on various crucial initiatives by government towards child protection, such as the revised Central Sector Scheme for Bonded Labourers, the Draft Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Rules (out for public consultation) and a comprehensive Human Trafficking Law.

It was announced that as per the new Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourer Scheme, financial assistance for persons freed from bonded labour has been increased 15 times, from Rs 20,000 to Rs 3 lakh in case of children rescued from trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Bipin Mallick, Joint Secretary, Minister of Labour and Employment informed that, “Since 1976, only 2,82,000 bonded labourers across the country have been identified and released. This is not enough. All of us have to work together in coordination on this issue.” Officials from across departments committed to ensuring strong implementation plans to decrease delay in implementation of rescue, comprehensive rehabilitation or prosecution.

Representatives of Center and State shared measures to identify and replicate good practices of implementation. (With inputs from The Economic Times)

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