Why the New Trafficking Bill Is a Cause for Worry - The Wire
On February 28, 2018, the Union cabinet approved the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018. Although the latest version has not been made public, the previous drafts of the Bill and media reports surrounding it present an alarming development.
The new Bill falls into the familiar trap of trying to use criminal law to solve a social problem. The IPC already criminalises trafficking under Section 370. The new Bill introduces 15 new offences on top of this, and introduces numerous clauses that make investigation and enforcement easier to misuse.
The ambiguity of these new clauses is a key issue, running the risk of unfairly targeting marginalised actors and relying heavily on criminalisation rather than rehabilitation. By stripping trafficking from its social and political context – things including structural poverty aggravated by neoliberal policies, the economic and gendered dimensions of migration and labour – the Bill conveniently locates blame on these very people.