INDIA: Government bans all forms of child labour

Summary: Child Rights activists across India have hailed the Parliament of India for passing a landmark law against trafficking.

[20 March 2013] - 

In a landmark step towards protection of victims of trafficking and slavery, especially women and children, the lower house of the Parliament of India (Lok Sabha) has passed the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, 2013 on 19th March 2013, making trafficking a specific criminal offence in the country. Once passed by the Upper house of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), the bill will replace the Criminal Law(Amendment) Ordinance which is due to expire on 4th April, 2013.

On 4th of February, 2013, the Government of India had brought an ordinance to change the Indian Penal Code (IPC) providing stringent and wide ranging measures to protect women and children against trafficking, sexual exploitation. The ordinance, promulgated by the President, included stringent measures to punish those involved in trafficking of women and children. Bachpan Bachao Andolan(BBA), India's largest movement against child labour and trafficking, hailed the government's decision for a radical change in the IPC.

Soon after the J.S. Verma Committee report was made public in January 2013, BBA led a campaign demanding inclusion of trafficking for all forms of exploitation in law and criminalizing trafficking, slavery, forced labour and other forms of sexual exploitation. In the campaign, BBA met over 50 Members of Parliament. These meetings also included suggestions provided in writing to the Chairperson and members of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, as well as to the leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha. BBA demanded in its written submissions as well as in its meetings with the MPs, a comprehensive legislation to deal with issues of child trafficking, missing children, sexual exploitation, slavery and employment of trafficked children.

According to R.S. Chaurasia, Chairperson, BBA, " It is a huge step towards protection of children and women. Thousands of women and children are trafficked everyday for slavery by inducement and deception. Almost 100, 000 children go missing in our country every year. With the passing of the bill, it is expected that there will be a stop to exploitation of children and women in the country."


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