As a respite for victims of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, the Telangana government has decided to implement schemes prescribed by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) that ensure legal aid and assistance to the vulnerable group.
The city on Saturday witnessed the first academic meeting to discuss implementation of schemes which come under the NALSA. While NALSA schemes were first implemented in 2015, the Telangana State Legal Services Authority started drafting the minimum plan of action only this month.
The NALSA had asked the State to identify districts where each of the schemes was to be implemented, constitute panel of lawyers who would comply with the schemes and also suggest other schemes which could be implemented for the benefit of vulnerable sections. Inaugurating the meet, Justice V. Ramasubramanian of the Hyderabad High Court and Executive Chairman of the T.S Legal Services Authority said, “Society should be able to cleanse itself of prevalent myths about victims of trafficking. The schemes will ensure rescue and rehabilitation of such victims”.
Participants of the meeting included metropolitan magistrates of Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy, special judges of POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012) and panel of lawyers. The first academic meeting was held by TSLSA in collaboration with the department of Women and Child Development.
M. Jagadeshwar, Secretary, Women and Child Development, said the department had been focusing on roping in non-governmental organisations and grassroots volunteers to implement schemes.
Already, the State government had improved assistance for victims of trafficking from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 20,000, he added.
Experts present at the meeting also discussed implementation of schemes which focuses on amendments prescribed by Criminal Law (Amendment) Act- 2013.
The NALSA had launched seven schemes including one for victims of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation the previous year. The scheme had as its focus identification of districts which acted as source, transit and destination for trafficking and prostitution. The NALSA had also asked the State to implement awareness, training and sensitisation programmes in each of the districts. The programmes would not just be for victims but also for their families and the general public and stakeholders, said the meet.
Society should be able to cleanse itself of prevalent myths about victims of trafficking.
Justice V. Ramasubramanian,High Court judge