Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA) 1956

By Shivank Goel|Updated : September 14th, 2022

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.

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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): Summary

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, harboring, 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. Sections 370 and 370A of the Indian Penal Code can provide for thorough steps to combat the scourge of human trafficking, including child trafficking for exploitation in any form, including physical mistreatment or any type of sexual exploitation, servitude, slavery, or coercive removal of organs, went into effect after the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013.
  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.

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.

The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA) Billpenalises any person is 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) 1956

  • 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.

  • 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 criminalizing various aspects of sex work. It penalizes any person visiting a brothel for the sexual exploitation of trafficked victims.

  • In order to outlaw human trafficking, the All India Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (SITA) was enacted in 1956. The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act was subsequently passed in 1986.

  • 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 practiced 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 offense.

  • On a first offense, maintaining or allowing a property to be utilized as a brothel carries a sentence of 1-3 years

    of imprisonment as well as a penalty of up to Rs 10,000. A penalty of up to Rs 2 lakh and 3-7 years in prison are the penalties for subsequent convictions.

  • Trafficking involving employees of the government or other public figures: life in prison and a fine. 10 years to life in jail, as well as a fine of a minimum of Rs. 10,00,000, are the possible penalties. Life in jail and a minimum fine of Rs. 2,000,000. 7–10 years in prison, and a fine of at least Rs. 10,00,000 are the penalties.

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