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Hardika Kukreja Manas Agrawal

B.COM. LLB. (Hons.) B.B.A LLB. (Hons.)
5th Semester. 5 th Semester.

Access To Justice For Victims Of

Trafficking And Prostitution
• Human Trafficking is seen as the second largest juridical issue after
Drug and Substance Abuse. This market produces a large amount of
profits and therefore it is insurmountable to eradicate it. Trafficking
is seen as the fastest growing criminal industry in the world.
• Trafficking is basically the modern day slavery. Whereas,
Prostitution basically refers to the occupation or profession of
performing sexual activities in lieu of money or some kind of
• According to the Report of United Nations Office on Drugs and
Crimes, the most common reason for human trafficking (79%) is
sexual exploitation.
• This brutal issue has gone to such an extent that young girls and
adolescents in the name of child marriage are being targeted for
• There are various reasons which are responsible for such immoral
acts, some of them are:

1. Easy money for the trafficker.

2. Poor socio-economic conditions of the large number of families.
3. Education, skills and employment opportunities of women.
4. Social status of women.
5. Objectifying women.
6. Expansion of sex industry.
7. Media’s representation of women as objects.
8. Absence of moral ethics and values in regard to gender equality
and patriarchal mind-set.
9. No strict laws against traffickers.
10. Lack of awareness among people in regard to activities of the

• Prostitution is an $8 billion a year industry with more than two

million prostitutes and 275,000 brothels.
• One prevalent form of prostitution witnessed by ancient India was
the Devdasi system and the act related to it was Hindu Religious and
Charitable Endowment Act, 1927.
• The prostitution before 1860s was regulated with The Cantonment
Act of 1864.
• 90% of the human trafficking was done in India domestically. The
other 10% of the human trafficking is done for the purpose of sexual
exploitation and young girls from Nepal and Bangladesh are
trafficked to India.
• India being an underprivileged country and immersed in the state of
poverty. Young women and adolescents from different parts of the country
are lured into the glitz and glam of easy money and prerogatives of the
world with the promise of well-paid jobs. Such victims of easy money are
sent to the abyss of misery and become the targets of sex industry in the
way of prostitutes.

• In the state of India prostitution in private is legal whereas, soliciting and

brothels are regarded as illegal.

The divine are extremely happy where women are respected; where they are not, all
actions (projects) are fruitless. -Manusmriti

“O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor
should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dowry you
have given them – except when they have become guilty of open lewdness. On the
contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to
them, it may be that you dislike something and Allah will bring about through it a
great deal of good.”-Noble Quran (4:19)
• Primarily the freedom of the citizens is supported by Article 21 of The
Indian Constitution. It is the fundamental law of the land which
inoculates the people of the nation from the delirious act of trafficking.
• Ones liberty isn’t meaningful until and unless it is supported by the
equality of status that has its essence in Article 14 of the Indian
• The aforesaid mentioned provisions are somewhat generic in nature.
Article 23 of the Indian Constitution.
• It’s not only in the fundamental rights that the individuals are protected
from trafficking but it’s also in the Directive Principles of the State
Policy that they have been referred in, Article 39(e) of the Indian
Constitution. Whereas, Article 39(f) elucidates “childhood and youth
should be protected against exploitation.”
• Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956 is the only legislation in the
state of India which deals with the disturbing issue of trafficking and
prostitution. This act deals with the trade of women and its modus
operandi. This act defines ‘prostitution’ and ‘brothel’ .
• Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956 includes within its ambit
procuring, inducing or taking a person for prostitution along with
special powers of the police officers to search without warrant where
there is a reasonable suspicion to believe that an offence is being
carried out under this act.
• Trafficking is not defined anywhere in any of the mandates or even in
the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956.
• To curb the problem of trafficking it should first have a proper
definition of it so as to have some demarcations. It is with the hope
that the bill pending in the parliament has the definition of trafficking.
• Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956 (herein
referred as SITA) was enacted by the Indian parliament as it was also a
signatory to the United Nations International Convention for the
“Suppression of Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of Others” of
1950 with the primary motive of curbing the evil of prostitution and
• SITA has been amended twice in 1978 and 1986 respectively. . The 1986
amendment changed the name of the Act from SITA to “The Immoral
Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956” (herein referred as ITPA) and also made
major changes in the definition of Prostitution along with enhancement of
punishment for several offences.
• This amendment acknowledged the existence of male prostitutes and
made the law over prostitution and trafficking gender neutral.
• One major pitfall of the act is that that it penalizes the victim itself.
Penal provisions against women trapped in prostitution yet seems to
be a cruel irony.
• Another point which needs to be focused upon is there are no penal
provisions against the exploitative clients.
• ITPA spurns the significant role that is played by these clients.
Hence, it is extremely dangerous to place the clients completely
outside the scope of penal provisions.
• The scenario of rehabilitation of such victims of prostitution is even
worse. The victims are rather treated as criminals or people deemed
to be unfit for the society and regarded as “immoral and indecent”.
• A person charged under Sections 7 and 8 can be sent to a corrective
institution. Under Section 17, a prostitute can be placed in protective
• A person carrying on or forced to carry on prostitution may make an
application to the Magistrate to be kept in a protective home or be
provided care and protection by the Court.
• Protective and corrective homes are considered a substitute to
prison, where the victims as sent more of as a punishment rather
than as an opportunity of rehabilitation.
• Protective homes consider the victims who need to be rescued,
rather as morally corrupt people who must immediately be removed
from the societal sphere so as to protect the society from public
moral deterioration.
• The concept of rehabilitation in ITPA and the purpose of sending the
victims to such institutions is to transform them into morally upright
• Hence, the current institutionalized system of rehabilitation must be
replaced with facilitative structure of rehabilitation.

• The aforementioned provisions have only protected them from the

legal abuses, but what about guarding them in the people’s eyes; the
eyes which blatantly accuse them of different sins or misdeeds
which many of them didn’t even choose for.
• If prostitution is a disgraceful act then why only women are
considered as a felon and not men. Our society has to change its
mentality and understand that it takes two to do a sinful act and if
prostitution is not a sinful act then the sex workers should be treated
with the same reverence as the men who go to them for sexual
• Our society has to come out from the blinder of male dominance and
patriarchy, it has to acknowledge that the women should be treated
with utmost request and they aren’t an object to be bought and sold.