Anti-Human Trafficking Bill – Chinks in it’s Armour?

Two days before, the Central Cabinet passed the anti-Human Trafficking Bill aiming to curb human trafficking. A laudable effort. As I understand, this bill aims at punishing the offenders and rehabilitate the victims. It will cover everything – setting up of constitutional bodies, setting up of protection houses, punishment for the rule breakers. But, still, I have some open questions.

The biggest question I have got regarding this is, if there is a need for a temporary rehabilitation, where will that be? Will it be in a government maintained entity or a private one? This raises very serious questions after what happened near Chengalpattu in Tamil Nadu. A certain St Joseph Hospice is facing serious charges as we speak when an ambulance of theirs was intercepted after an old woman in it screamed for help. When the van was opened, it was found out that the lady was being forcibly taken against her will along with another old man, a dead body and vegetables.

Below is an account of the same, given by @Ethirajans  on twitter –

Suspected organ trade! St. Joseph Hospices’s ambulance held with an elderly woman’s dead-body, locals complain that said hospices allegedly kidnap orphaned elders n kill them for organs! Hospices administration claims no foul play, dead-body in their “Fake” Ambulance along with an elderly man was very much co-incidental! But why did the driver abandon the vehicle upon being stopped by villagers? The elderly man & woman rescued by the villagers from St. Joseph Hospices’s FAKE ambulance claim to have been held captive by the home for days, and was locked inside the ambulance with dead bodies. St Joseph Hospice shocker! Govt officials find more than 50 rooms with cold storage facilities, elders are brought from various parts, being tortured, killed, bones extracted, improper disposal of human-body remains causes health issues, locals complain! As per reports, over 3000 bodies improperly disposed, most of them were North Indians, Hospice does not admit locals and those who have relatives, nor locals are employed! Dead bodies are kept in concrete coffins with sieve like setup, which are attached to a tunnel, fluids from decomposed bodies reach the tunnel, bone remains are removed by hospice for trade! With 1500+ age old “sick” inmates, #StJoseph hospice does not have a single resident Doctor! A massive scale of organ loot is on for years, how did our State/Central Intel agencies give a miss to this for these many years? As per @PTTVOnlineNews report, inmates say they were forcibly brought to hospice and confined there against their will, what is the need? Why were they forcibly brought? What kind of motive/hatred do you think they have against #StJoseph hospice?

Very serious allegations indeed. What sort of checks and balances are we going to have to ensure that these sort of things don’t happen? And in spite of that, if these things happen, who will be held accountable? And will the organization be shut down or that particular branch?

Next thing is, what happens to cross-border infiltration, which, technically is also human trafficking? Take the case of the Bangladeshis and Rohingya who are given a chance to move into India in the hope of a better life. Are they getting it, who knows? There are two categories of this, again – human trafficking and illegal migrations. Most of those who enter India get their papers made before they enter India.

It was Mohammad Ehsan (name changed), a Bangladeshi national, who was apprehended by BSF personnel late in the evening for crossing the border. He had fake documents which had been prepared by a tout from Bangladesh. Ehsan told me that he was from Satkhira district in Bangladesh and had entered Gojadanga with help from the same tout, to seek medical treatment for his chronic back pain. He didn’t seem ill going by his inconsistent statements and robust appearance.

In the lure of a better life, they are entering India. It’s impossible to distinguish between both the categories. How exactly are we going to deal with these people? Will these people come under the purview of this bill? Can it be argued that deportation, which actually is the policy, should be superseded by providing rehabilitation to these illegal entrants, there by legalizing their entry? And who would want a repatriation back to their native country after this happens? The biggest set of such people with which India is facing problems today are Bangladeshi and Rohingya. Technically, no Rohingya entered India – all those entered India, entered through Bangladesh. And without papers, how do you decide that they are not illegal Bangladeshi, but Rohingya?

Both of them can become very powerful tools for those vested interests. May be, such sort of issues (illegal migrants and cross border smugglers, erring private rehabilitation homes, to be more specific), which will be devastating to the national psyche should be addressed first, before bringing in such a law?

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