The Ministry of Women and Child Development will compensate victims of human trafficking in an attempt to integrate them into the social mainstream. They will now be on a par with rape victims.
Ministry sources said the proposal is an extension of a "pilot scheme" underway in districts where trafficking of women and children is rampant. "We propose to increase the scope of the scheme to the entire country," a senior ministry official told the Hindustan Times.
Under the scheme, envisaged for the 11th five-year-plan, the Centre will provide funds for the rehabilitation of women rescued from brothels or red-light areas and the state governments will chip in with infrastructure and logistics.
Statistics cite that over 1.5 lakh women are traded in India every year and most of them land up in red-light areas or work as semi-labour in industrial cities.
The 2006 Trafficking of Persons report said India has failed to furnish evidence of increasing efforts to address human trafficking. United States has put India under Tier 2 Watch List for the third consecutive year. A ministry official said the scheme would help those who are not accepted by their families when they return.
"We have found that many rescued women go back to the brothels as they face harassment back home," an official said, quoting recent reports.
The ministry also observed that the trafficking network has spread to poor districts and areas hit by natural calamities.
For the first-time, each state and Union Territory has appointed nodal officers tasked with the job to co-ordinate efforts to check human trafficking. Four regional cells have also been constituted. "Enforcement of law can only work when the rescued victims get a chance to start life afresh. And, the way is vocational training and a compensation package," an official explained, adding that the amount will be decided after consulting the Planning Commission.
A study by the Centre of Concern for Child Labour has identified four pockets with high incidence of human trafficking.