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Smriti Irani promises ‘most stringent’ anti-trafficking Bill in Parliament

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New Delhi, Sep 9, 2020 –

Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said on Wednesday that the Centre is readying to bring a “most stringent” anti-trafficking Bill in Parliament.

She was talking about India’s response to the pandemic crisis, particularly in regard to women and children at Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi-organised ‘Laureates and Leaders for Children’ summit.

Irani said, “As we speak, ladies and gentlemen, we in the Ministry of Women and Child Development are currently undertaking an exercise to present to Parliament the most stringent law possible on trafficking of women and children.”

She listed the laws on child pornography and child protection that were being passed before the pandemic. She said that the Indian government has sanctioned an Anti-Trafficking Unit across each district of India. In fact, it has also set up one-stop crisis centres for children and women and civil society leaders as well as 24X7 helplines for children.

She also strongly urged for a “cohesive approach” across the world where consumers are sensitive to ensure that the product is child labour-free.

Earlier the summit saw the launch of a report that was scathing in its observation on India as well as the global response to the pandemic. In raking up the migrant crisis, the report alleged that over 40 million of India’s internal migrant workers faced the brunt of a “severe lack of government support systems”.

Between March 25 and May 31, there was a spurt in complaints related to domestic violence against women, said the report which focuses on India, among other poor countries.

If that was not all, it highlighted the lack of unemployment safety nets among others in most nations including India. The report said, “The deep global inequality before the crisis, the virulence and scale of the disease, the severe economic consequences of the lockdown, the absence of unemployment safety nets for the world’s most vulnerable families, the impact on food supply and prices and the closure of school feeding programmes, and the increasing violence against children have all combined to create the perfect storm for a disaster for children’s rights.”

It further warns that the world economy is expected to contract by 5.2 per cent this year if the pandemic endures beyond 2020 and the economy contracts further while up to 400 million people are at risk of slipping into extreme poverty. Moreover, 347 million children are still not able to access school feeding programmes due to school closures and 1.2 million more children under the age of five are projected to die from undernutrition in the next six months, claimed the report while sounding alarm bells.  (Agency)

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