maneka gandhi
Anti-trafficking legislation to be presented in Parliament during winter session, says Maneka Gandhi Pictured: Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi at Parliament in New Delhi, on Aug 11, 2016.IANS

The government will soon bring an anti-trafficking legislation in the Parliament, the draft for which is ready, said Women & Child Development Minister, Maneka Gandhi, on Monday.

The bill will be introduced in the winter session and will cover issues like rescue, relief and reintegration of the trafficked person.

The bill also sets to make a distinction between those who were trafficked and the trafficker. The victims will be treated as those in need of help and assistance instead of criminals.

South Asia is the fastest growing and second largest centre of human trafficking. Women and children are more likely to be trafficked from this region, which includes India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and others. Many of the women and minors are sold as bonded labour, forced in marriage, or made to work in brothels.

The draft bill mentions that those confined to brothels will be treated as victims instead of being jailed as criminals.

"The bill shows far more compassion and makes a very clear distinction between the trafficked and the trafficker, which is a nuance that should have been made 60 years ago," Gandhi had said in May 2016 about the draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016.

Gandhi also spoke about other ways in which safety of women and children is being ensured. The WCD ministry has started a POCSO e-box through which children and adults can file complaints of sexual abuse or harassment. So far, the ministry has received 81 complaints.

The Khoya Paya website to track missing children has nearly 6,000 cases since it began in 2015.

To track missing/runaway children the railway's is cooperating with the government. The minister said that 13,000 children were helped through this method.

SOS buttons in phones are also being installed from January 1, 2017 to help women in distress. The ministry is also working on setting up 170 One Stop Centres for victims of violence.

It is also working on revamping the Anganwadi system, where toddlers and pregnant women come for nutrition and awareness.

She was speaking at the Regional Editors' Conference organised by the Press Information Bureau of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in Chandigarh.