“Their playground is the brothel; they are the playthings and toys of lust.
India reportedly has the world’s largest concentration of child prostitutes,
accounting for one in every four of the global number. India’s children are
no strangers to exploitation, but none of it is as brutish as the terror to
which these particularly unfortunate kids have been subjected. Raped at 10,
tortured and starved to submission at 11, an abortion at 12 and sexually
violated 15 times a day till age and AIDS throws them on to the streets.”
-(The Sunday Times of India. 15 November, 1998)
Children are the greatest gift to humanity. The sexual abuse of children is one of the most heinous crimes. It is an appalling violation of their trust, an ugly breach of our commitment to protect the innocent.
Trafficking in human beings, especially in women, and children has become a matter of serious national and international concern. Women and children – boys and girls – have been exposed to unprecedented vulnerabilities commercial exploitation of these vulnerabilities has become a massive organized crime and a multimillion dollar business. Nations are attempting to combat this trade in human misery through legislative, executive, judicial and social action. Children and their families are often lured by the promise of better employment and a more prosperous life far from their homes. Others are kidnapped and sold. Trafficking violates a child’s right to grow up in a family environment and exposes him or her to a range of dangers, including violence and sexual abuse.
What are THEY Trafficked for?
– Bonded labour
– Domestic work
– Agricultural labour
– Construction work
– Carpet industry, garment industry, fish / shrimp export as well as other sites of work in the formal and informal economy.
– Organ trade
– Drug peddling smuggling
– Forced prostitution
– Socially and religiously sanctified forms of prostitutions
– Sex tourism
Entertainment and Sports
– Circus, dance troupes, beer bars etc.
– Camel jockeys
For and through marriage
For and through adoption
As child soldiers or combatants in armed conflicts
The legal framework that combats against the human trafficking in India
THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA
It clearly states that the Right against Exploitation is a fundamental right. Under Article 23, traffic in human beings and ‘beggar’ (bonded labour) and other forms of forced labour are prohibited. Any contravention of this provision is a punishable offence.
THE IMMORAL TRAFFIC (PREVENTION) ACT 1956
The Government of India enacted the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act 1956. The Act was amended in 1986 and retitled as the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956. The amended Act widened the scope of the law to cover both the sexes exploited sexually for commercial purposes and provided, inter alia, enhanced penalties for offences involving children and minors. It continued to prohibit prostitution in its commercialized form without rendering prostitution per se an offence. The Act, lays down penalties for keeping a brothel or allowing premises to be used as a brothel; living on earnings of prostitution; procuring, inducing and inducting person for the sake of prostitution; detaining a person in premises where prostitution is carried on; prostitution in or in the vicinity of public places; seducing or soliciting for purpose of prostitution; and, seduction of a person in custody. Besides contemplating a specialized machinery for its enforcement, the Act envisages a comprehensive scheme for rescue, protection and corrective treatment of prostitutes. The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 prescribes stringent action against those inducting children (below 16 years) and minors (16 to 18 years) in the offence of procuring, inducing or taking a person for the sake of prostitution. If the offence has been committed against a child, the punishment is rigorous imprisonment for a term of not less than 7 years, which may extend to life. If the victim is a minor, the punishment is from 7-14 years. The Act further provides that where any person is found with a child in a brothel, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, that he has committed an offence of detaining a person in premises where prostitution is carried on. Similarly, when a child or minor found in a brothel, on medical examination, detected to have been sexually abused, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, that the child or minor has been detained for purposes of statute.
National Laws and Policies to Combat Trafficking
prostitution or, as the case may be, has been sexually exploited for commercial purposes. The punishment consists of imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than 7 years, but which may be for life or for a term, which may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine, with a provision for less than 7 years under special circumstances.
THE INDIAN PENAL CODE
# The Indian Penal Code includes offences, among others, relating to exposure and abandonment of child under 12 years by parent or person having care of its wrongful restraint or wrongful confinement; kidnapping, abduction, slavery and forced labour: and sexual offences.
# Of particular significance are offences relating to kidnapping from lawful guardians (Section 361);
# kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her into marriage (Section 366);
# procuration of minor girls (Section 366 A);
# importation of girl from foreign country (Section 366B);
# selling minor girls for purposes of prostitution (Section 372);
# buying minor girls for propose of prostitution (Section 373);
# ‘rape’ (Section 375);
# and, ‘unnatural offences’ (Section 377).
# Sexual intercourse with a woman with or without her consent when she is under 16 years of age amounts to rape and the offender is punishable upto imprisonment for life.
# Kidnapping and/or abduction for export (i.e. kidnapping out of India. Sec. 360 IPC),
# kidnapping for begging (Sec. 363-A IPC),
# kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person (Sec. 365 IPC),
# kidnapping to compel for marriage (Sec. 366 IPC),
# importation of girl from foreign country with intent to or knowledge that she might be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse (Sec. 366 B),
# kidnapping/abduction for slavery or to subject a person to grievous injury (such as in camel racing) etc. (Sec. 367 IPC),
# buying or disposing of any person as a slave (Sec. 370 IPC),
# habitual dealing in slaves (Sec. 371 IPC);
are all punishable under the Indian Penal Code but there is no data compilation under these separately.
THE JUVENILE JUSTICE ACT, 1986
The Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 has elaborate provisions for the care, protection, treatment, education, vocational training, development and rehabilitation of children rescued from those procuring, inducing on taking persons for the sake of prostitution and detaining persons in premises where prostitution is carried on. Such children are covered under the definition of “neglected juvenile which means, inter alia, a juvenile who lives in a brothel or with a prostitute or frequently goes to any place used for the purpose of prostitution or is found to associate with any prostitute or any other person who lives an immoral, drunken or depraved life. Besides the police, any person or organization authorized by the State Government may bring such a neglected juvenile before the Juvenile Welfare Board for a differential handling, processing and placement with a fit-person or a fit-institution, failing which, in a juvenile home. Voluntary institutions can also be recognized to function as protective homes and juvenile homes under the respective laws. These institutions have to serve on the basis of certain minimum standards of care and reformative treatment.
The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (ITPA), 1956
Supplemented by the Indian Penal code (IPC), this Act prohibits trafficking in human beings, including children, and lays down severe penalties. The ITPA and IPC prescribe punishments for crimes related to prostitution special feature included in the Act as amended is that the presumption of guilt is laid down on the accused in cases where children or minors are found in brothels and are proven to be sexually abused upon medical detection. The ITPA provides for enhanced punishments for offences in regards to minors. Under section 5 of this act, inducing or taking a child or minor for the sake of prostitution is punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term of not less than 7 years extended upto 7 years extendable upto 10 years, and a fine.
Under section 13(4) of ITPA
It was recommended that the Central government appoints a number of police officers and they shall discharge such functions and exercises such powers in the entire country. One reason for the low level of prosecutions in cases of cross-border trafficking is that the women and children who could testify against the perpetrators are deported because of their irregular residential status.
Shreya Ganguly and Raunak Sathpathy
Students, Amity Law School, Amity University, Noida
[Submitted as an entry for the MightyLaws.in Blog Post Writing Competition, 2011]