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Pathrose K Raju

• The Parliament of India enacted the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in

Women and Children Act, 1956 (also known as SITA), as India was
signatory to the United Nations International Convention for the
“Suppression of Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of Others” of
• It is enacted by Parliament in the Seventh Year of the Republic of India.
• The SITA was amended twice in 1978 and in 1986:
•The 1978 amendment enhanced the punishments for certain offences in
the Act.
• The 1986 amendment changed the name of the Act as “The Immoral
Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956” (ITPA).
• The amendment has also changed definition of ‘prostitution’ and
enhanced punishment for a set of offences further.
• The amendment made the law gender neutral and recognized the
existence of male prostitution and trafficking in male child.
•Act may be called The Immoral Traffic
(Prevention)] Act, 1956.
•Act extends to the whole of India.
2. Definitions.
•“brothel” includes any house, room or place or any portion of any house,
room or place, which is used for purposes of sexual exploitation or abuse
for the gain of another person or for the mutual gain of two or more
•“child” means a person who has not completed the age of sixteen years;
•“corrective institution” means an institution, by whatever name called
(being an institution established or licensed as such under section 21), in
which [persons], who are in need of correction, may be detained under
this Act, and includes a shelter where [undertrial] may be kept in
pursuance of this Act]
•“prostitution“ means the sexual exploitation or abuse of persons for
commercial purposes or for consideration in money or in any other kind,
and the expression “prostitute” shall be construed accordingly;
•“protective home“ means an institution, by whatever name called (being
an institution established or licenced as such under Section 21), in which
persons who are in need of care and protection, may be kept.
•under this Act and where appropriate technically qualified persons,
equipments and other facilities have been provided but does not
•(i) a shelter where under trials may be kept in pursuance of this Act, or
•(ii) a corrective institution;
• “public place“ means any place intended for use by, or accessible to, the
public and includes any public conveyance.
3. Punishment for keeping a brothel or
allowing premises to be used as a
4. Punishment for living on the earnings
of prostitution.
5. Procuring, inducing or taking person for
the sake of prostitution.
9. Seduction of a person in custody.
15. Search without warrant.
16. Rescue of person.
18. Closure of brothel and eviction of
offenders from the premises.
19. Application for being kept in a
protective home or provided care and
protection by court.
20. Removal of prostitute from any place.
21. Protective homes.
24. Act not to be in derogation of certain
other Acts.
Objectives of ITPA
• Punish trafficking for prostitution.
• Punish traffickers.
• Punish persons keeping brothels (Section 3).
• Punish those living off the earnings of a woman(Section 4).
• Punish procuring, inducing and taking a person for the sake of
• Punish detaining persons in premises where prostitution is carried out (Section6).
• Punish prostitution in the vicinity of public place (Section 7).
• Punish soliciting for prostitution (Section 8).
• Provide welfare measures directed towards rehabilitation of prostitutes.
• Special Police Officers are appointed u/s 13 for rescues and investigations.
• Searches without warrant and rescues are carried out u/s 15 and 16. Section 15
lays down the requirement for respectable citizens, women police officers during
raid who also have to do the interrogation of the rescued women and girls.
• Section 17 revolves around the custody of women, inquiry into their antecedents
with help from social workers and advisory boards.
• Protective homes are set up u/s 21 to rehabilitate the victims of any age.
• Special Courts are to be established u/s 22A and 22AA.
People in prostitution can by no means be debarred from these constitutional

•Article 21 guarantees right to life, as inclusive of the right to live with human
•Article 23 prohibits traffic in human beings.
•Article 39(e) directs that “the health and strength of women and the tender age
of children shall not be abused and citizens shall not be forced by economic
necessity to enter into avocations unsuited to their age or strength.”
•Article 39 directs that children should be given opportunities and facilities to
develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that
childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and
material abandonment.
•Article 41 obligates the State to make effective provisions for securing the right
to work and education.
•Article 51A casts a duty upon every citizen, a fortiori, on the State itself, to
renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women and to develop

• Right To Vote
The IPC has various provisions for restraining kidnapping of minors.

• Under Sections 366 and 366A of IPC kidnapping and procurement of a minor girl is
an offence punishable with 10 years imprisonment and fine.

• Section 366B provides for imposition of 10 years imprisonment for importation of

any girl under the age of 21 years from a foreign country.

• Under Section 372 and 373 buying and selling of minor girls for prostitution is
punishable with imprisonment of 10 years and fine.

• Recent amendments (Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013) have added sections
370 and 370A which define and punish trafficking for all reasons and also for
sexual exploitation.

• The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Child) Act, 2000 provides for the care,
protection, treatment and rehabilitation of neglected or delinquent juveniles
including girls. This Act is applied to issues related to child prostitution and
children of women in prostitution.
• The ITPA is concerned with at least six different categories
of people who are in some ways connected with
prostitution. Each category is treated differently, subjected
to different legal processes and punishments. The six
categories addressed by the law include:
1) . The procurer/seducer.
2) . The brothel keeper/ manager or his/ her assistant.
3) . Any person who allows or lets premises to be used for
4) . Any person who lives on the earnings of a prostitute.
5) . The prostitute.
6) . The children of prostitutes.
• Public Space And Prostitution (Section 7)
Though the law does not abolish prostitution, it regulates or curbs open
manifestation of prostitution. Anyone who carries on prostitution within close
proximity to a public place, including a hospital, nursing home, place of religious
worship, hostel, educational institution, or in an area notified under the provisions of
the Act, can be punished with imprisonment.
• Seducing or soliciting for the purpose is also an offence under Section 8 of the
• The ITPA overtly treats a woman in prostitution as an offender under
Sections 7(1) and 8(b). Hence, contrary to its declared objectives, these Sections
of the ITPA criminalize the woman in prostitution. Importantly, the client is not an
offender under the Act.
• A female offender found guilty of an offence under Sections 7 and 8 can, in lieu of
a sentence of imprisonment, be placed in a corrective institution instead of in a
prison (Section 10A).
• A magistrate can order the immediate closure of a place that is being used for
prostitution and is within 200 meters of a public place and direct the eviction from
the premises from where she is ostensibly carrying out prostitution (Section 18).
• Section 20 empowers a magistrate, on receiving information that any person
residing in or frequenting any place within the local limits of his jurisdiction is a
prostitute, to initiate proceedings against that person requiring her to remove
herself from such a place and be prohibited from re-entering it.
On the specific problem of child prostitution, in a public interest litigation
(PIL), Vishal Jeet v/s Union of India, the Supreme Court issued an order that
the Central and State governments should set up Advisory Committees to
make suggestions for:

1. Measures to be taken in eradicating child prostitution.

2. The social welfare programme to be implemented for the care, protection,

treatment, development and rehabilitation of the young fallen victims and mainly
children and girls rescued either from the brothel houses or from the vices of

3. To make suggestions of amendments to existing laws or for enactment of any new

law, if so warranted, for the prevention of sexual exploitation for children;

4. To examine the devadasi and jogini traditions and give suggestions for then welfare
and rehabilitation.

5. Devising suitable machinery for implementing the suggestions made by the


• Constitution of Central Authority.

13A and 13B. (1) The Central and/or State Government
may constitute an Authority for the purposes of
effectively preventing and combating the offence
of trafficking in persons.
(2) The members of the Authority be appointed by
the Central and/or State Government
(3) The Chairperson of the Authority shall be one
of the members appointed and be nominated by
the Central and/or State Government.
• Section 8 can be misused by the police to put any woman behind bars.
• Logic behind handing out of a stricter sentence to the woman for soliciting as
distinct from the man. This differential treatment in terms of sentencing needs to
be questioned.
• Children Of Women In Prostitution- Children of women in prostitution are by
definition neglected children under the Juvenile Justice Act. The law empowers the
State to intrude into the privacy of the home of the woman in prostitution and
remove her children from her custody and even guardianship.
• The ITPA operates against a woman by targeting her family.

• Child Prostitution And The Law- Though the Act takes a stem view of child
trafficking and child prostitution, in regular practice it fails to distinguish between
prostitution and child prostitution.
• Bias In Implementation –
•Gender bias
•Class bias
• Non-recognition Of ‘Red Light’ Areas
• There is no provision in the Act for a competent legal aid service for the victims of
India's Trafficking Bill 2018 is Neither Clear Nor
Tripti Tandon
EPW-Vol. 53, Issue no. 28, 14 July,2018

• Recently, the Ministry of Women and Child Development had introduced a new
Bill, Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2016.
• This Bill, although welcomed, has little focus on rehabilitation. The larger focus is
on prosecution of the accused.
• As it stands today, the bill is a deeply flawed and irrational piece of legislation
which serves no purpose other than exposing vulnerable communities to a
punitive overkill.
• The MWCD will be well advised to defer its introduction in Parliament and go back
to the drawing board with proper research, analysis, and the voices of affected
groups to develop meaningful interventions against trafficking.

oTandon, T. (14 july 2018). India's Trafficking Bill 2018 is Neither Clear Nor
Comprehensive. EPW,53(28). Retrieved March 27, 2019, from
Policing Prostitution in India: An Examination of Field Experiences at
Shetye, S. (2018). Policing Prostitution in India: An Examination of Field Experiences at Mumbai 1. International
Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences, 13(1), 68.
• This paper, argues for :
•primacy to be given to the rights of the prostituted,
•the need to amend the law and
•for prostitution and sex-trafficking to not be seen as a law and
order problem but to understand it in the larger social context as
an interplay of various root causes that need to be tackled.
• Rampant use of section 8 against women soliciting for prostitution, this
was not found tat much in the present time. But use instead of the Police
Act was seen. But apart from that it was also clear that the police have
somewhere failed to understand and internalize the purpose behind
passing of the law, i.e., ITPA Act.
• A holistic response is incomplete without focus on root causes.
• Policing Prostitution in India: An Examination of Field
Experiences at Mumbai.
Shetye, S. (2018). Policing Prostitution in India: An Examination of Field
Experiences at Mumbai 1. International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences, 13(1),
• Shodhganga. (n.d.). Review of Immoral Traffic (Prevention)
Act, 1956. Retrieved from