BeyondHeadlines News Desk
New Delhi: Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) today urged the political leadership to step up their efforts to deal with the menace of trafficking and direct the law enforcement machinery to deal with the traffickers sternly as per law.
India is a signatory to various international conventions, which mandate the Indian state to put in place stronger laws and make the criminal justice system more robust to deal with trafficking of hapless women and children. The country also has an obligation to ensure rehabilitation of trafficked victims and ensure stringent punishment for the perpetrators of the crime in the form of convictions.
In India, rehabilitation process and legal battle against the traffickers are marred by various factors, which include non-filing of FIRs, summary trial procedures not being followed in the majority of the cases, and poor conviction rate leading to traffickers operating with impunity and total absence of rehabilitation of victims.
It is a travesty of justice that none of the children rescued by BBA has received Rs 1 to Rs 3 lakhs monetary compensation under the Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourers, 2016 since the scheme was introduced. That is so because the release of compensation amount is predicated on conviction in the related criminal cases and till now no cases have ended in conviction. Before the May 18, 2016 scheme, the rescued children used to receive Rs 10,000 each from the central and state governments for their rehabilitation. But the 2016 scheme appears to be a non-starter.
It is pertinent to note that during the period of 2017-19, BBA has rescued a total of 5,347 children from their captors. The administrative authorities across the states have however failed to provide release certificates to 4,352 children out of these, making their rehabilitation process a non-starter. So far out of these, only 86 children have been provided immediate financial support of Rs 20,000 under the new scheme.
BBA has noted that utilisation of funds under Ujjawala, a central government-sponsored scheme for rehabilitation of trafficked and sexually exploited victims, has been highly disappointing. In the past three years (2016-19), year-on-year utilization has drastically declined with 42%, 50.9% and 87.1% of money remaining unspent, in these years respectively.
BBA notes that the government of India has been making efforts to bring about strong anti-trafficking law to launch a multi-pronged and holistic attack on the surge of trafficking. BBA hopes that such a strong law is adopted anytime soon by the country to provide justice to the victims of trafficking and their timely rehabilitation in society.