Immoral Traffic Prevention Act [ITPA]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 26, 2022, 7:54

Despite several amendments and awareness about the horrors of human trafficking, it remains a significant issue for women and children of all ages and backgrounds. Out of an estimated 20 million commercial prostitutes in India, 16 million women and girls are victims of sex trafficking. According to Legal Services in India, every hour, four girls in India enter into prostitution, three of them against their will.

These horrifying numbers showcase how important it is for the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act [ITPA] to be enforced. The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA), is the premier legislation to prevent trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. The act, then called the All India Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (SITA), was amended to the current law, punishing any person found guilty of involving a child or woman in any such activity and may be imprisoned for seven years or more.

In this article, we talk about the details of this bill and why it is crucial for not just India but the entire world.

Immoral Traffic Prevention Act [ITPA] - Overview

The Government of India ratified the legislation that was introduced by the United Nations International Convention for the Suppression of Women in Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation in Others in New York on May 09 1950. This act, passed in 1956, was called the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956 (SITA).

This act was amended in 1986 and stated the legality of prostitution and punishment for owning any related establishment or indulging in this activity.

Any person involved in recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring, or receiving people for the purpose of prostitution is liable to be punished under this act. The persona can be imprisoned for seven years or more.

Initiatives of the Indian Government to combat the trafficking of women and children

In addition to the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, the Indian government has some major initiatives to help safeguard the interests of women and children. These include:

  1. Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013 came into force wherein Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code had been substituted with Section 370 and 370A IPC which provide for comprehensive measures to counter the menace of human trafficking including trafficking of children for exploitation in any form including physical exploitation or any form of sexual exploitation, slavery, servitude, or the forced removal of organs.
  2. Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, is a law to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation.
  3. The Ministry of Home Affairs has set up a dedicated cell for the prevention of trafficking.
  4. The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) in collaboration with NIPCCD and UNICEF has developed three manuals for combating the Trafficking of Women and Children for Commercial Sexual Exploitation.
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The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2006

In the year 2006, the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Amendment Bill was passed, which amends the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act of 1956 to combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

It was introduced in the Lok Sabha on May 22, 2006, referred to the standing committee on June 02, 2006, and the report was created on November 23, 2006.

☛ Also Read: Current Affairs 2022 PDF

The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act [ITPA] Billpenalises any person visiting a brothel for the purpose of sexual exploitation of trafficked victims. It also constitutes authorities from the state and central levels to combat trafficking.

Despite increasing efforts to combat human trafficking and related crimes against human beings, there is a rise in the number of victims of human trafficking each year. This shows that the existing laws need proper enforcement and need not just law and order but even society to come together and end this problem in our country.

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FAQs on Immoral Traffic Prevention Act [ITPA]

Q1. What is the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act [ITPA]?

The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA) is legislation introduced by the United Nations International Convention for the Suppression of Women in Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation in Others in New York on May 09 1950. India signed this act on December 30 1956, and it was made applicable all over the country.

Q2. What is the main aim of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act [ITPA]?

The main aim of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act [ITPA] is to limit and eventually abolish prostitution and immoral trafficking of women, men and children by criminalising various aspects of sex work. It penalises any person visiting a brothel for the sexual exploitation of trafficked victims.

Q3. What is the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act [ITPA] in India?

In India, the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act [ITPA] was called the All India Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (SITA), which was amended to the current law.

Q4. According to the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act [ITPA], Is human trafficking legal in India?

Although the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act amended in 1986 prohibits prostitution, the law is vague on this front. According to the law, prostitution can be practised privately, but prostitutes cannot legally solicit customers in public. However, the act does make trafficking and sexual exploitation of a person for commercial purposes a punishable offence.