Minister for women and children, Maneka Gandhi unveiled a draft of the country's first-ever comprehensive anti-human trafficking law , which would treat survivors as victims in need of assistance and protection rather than as criminals.
• South Asia, with India at its centre, is the fastest-growing and second-largest region for human trafficking in the world , after East Asia, says the U.N. Office for Drugs and Crime.
• There are no accurate figures on the number of people trafficked within South Asia, but activists say thousands of mostly women and children are trafficked within India as well as from its poorer neighbours Nepal and Bangladesh.
• Many are sold into forced marriage or bonded labour to work in middle class homes as domestic servants, in small shops and hotels or confined to brothels where they are repeatedly raped.
• Women's Minister Maneka Gandhi said the draft bill aims to unify existing anti-trafficking laws, prioritize survivors' needs, and prevent victims such as those found in brothel raids from being arrested and jailed like traffickers.
• The draft legislation provides for special courts to expedite trafficking cases, more shelters and a rehabilitation fund to help victims rebuild their lives.
• It also provides for anti-trafficking committees - at district, state and central levels - that will oversee prevention, protection and victim rehabilitation.