Immoral Traffic Prevention Act: Salient Features of ITPA, Summary

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA), is the premier legislation to prevent trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. The ITP 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.

This article discusses the details of the PITA Act, the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Amendment Bill, and why it is crucial for the upcoming UPSC Exam.

Immoral Traffic Prevention Act

The International Convention for the Prohibition of Immoral Trade in People and the Exploitation of Prostitution of Others, which India signed in 1950 in New York, led to the 1956 legislation known as the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, or ITPA, or PITA Act, which was amended in 1986. The All India Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (SITA), as it was formerly known, was modified to become the current statute.

The rules were designed to gradually criminalize various types of sex work to restrict and finally outlaw prostitution in India.

  • 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 the ITPA. The persona can be imprisoned for seven years or more.

Immoral Trafficking Act

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 the importance of enforcing the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA).

Immoral Traffic Prevention Act UPSC Notes

Punishments Under the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act

The PITA Act’s various penalties are listed in sections 3-9, 11, 18, 20, and 21. The following offenses are penalized under the act:

  • Maintaining and utilizing the property as a brothel;
  • Subsisting off the proceeds of prostitution;
  • Pimping or otherwise soliciting for prostitution;
  • Seducing a person in detention, prostitution in a public place, etc.

The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2006

In 2006, the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Amendment Bill was passed, which amends the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act 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) Bill penalizes any person who visits 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 not just law and order but even society to come together and end this problem in our country.

Salient features of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act

The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act 1986 has been updated by the Immoral Traffic Prevention Amendment Bill, 2006. The salient features of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act are:

  • The Bill repeals clauses that punish prostitutes for seeking customers. Anyone who enters a brothel intending to exploit sexual trafficking people is subject to punishment.
  • All offenses specified in the Bill would be tried secretly, meaning the public wouldn’t be allowed to watch the proceedings.
  • Prostitution-related trafficking is punishable under this bill. The Bill does not address trafficking for other purposes (such as bonded labor and domestic employment).
  • The Bill establishes federal and state agencies to combat trafficking. On the other hand, it is silent regarding these authorities’ composition, role, and duties.

Initiatives to Combat Trafficking of Women and Children

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

  • 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 sexual exploitation, servitude, slavery, or coercive removal of organs, went into effect after the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013.
  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, is a law to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs has set up a dedicated cell to prevent trafficking.
  • 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.

Does the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act Need to Be Reformed?

To decriminalize sex work and to protect the rights of sex workers, the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act must be amended. The PITA Act governs sex work in India. It punishes behaviors like running a brothel, soliciting in public, living off the proceeds of sex work, and residing with or frequently among sex workers. The act must be reformed because it is outdated and denies sex workers fundamental labor rights. It is necessary to modify the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act because:

  • It embodies the outdated and regressive belief that sex work is ethically immoral.
  • The rights of “consenting adult sex” workers are not considered.
  • Sex workers are now more likely to experience assault, discrimination, and harassment due to this stigmatization.
  • Due to a lack of independent authorities, the act has resulted in state officials harassing sex workers.
  • The ITP Act takes away a person’s control over their bodies and forces people to follow the state’s will when making decisions about their lives.

Immoral Traffic Prevention Act UPSC

The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act is the need of the hour for India. As an aspirant, one should cover this topic in detail for the upcoming UPSC Exam. A detailed analysis question can be asked on the topic in the UPSC Mains as well, keeping in mind the Previous Years’ Question Papers. To sum up, some important points relevant to the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act 1986 are:

  • The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2006, amends the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act 1956 to combat trafficking and sexual exploitation for commercial purposes.
  • The Law eliminates clauses that punish prostitutes for pursuing clients. Anyone who enters a brothel with the intention of sexually abusing trafficked victims is punished.
  • The public would not be permitted to attend any offenses included in Bill’s list since they would all be tried on camera.
  • Any individual found guilty of trafficking people for the purpose of prostitution will be punished under the definition of the phrase “trafficking in persons.”
  • The Bill creates national and state authorities to combat trafficking.
UPSC Notes
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana Project 75
Stockholm Convention Global Warming
Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Article 28 of the Indian Constitution
Forest Rights Act 2006 UN Environment Programme
List of High Courts in India Keshvananda Bharti Case
Red Sanders in India Monetary Policy
Our Apps Playstore
SSC and Bank
Other Exams
GradeStack Learning Pvt. Ltd.Windsor IT Park, Tower - A, 2nd Floor, Sector 125, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201303
Home Practice Test Series Premium