INDIAN LAWS ON TRAFFICKING IN PERSON – by Shubhangi Singh @lexcliq

Sita was 13 years old when she was trafficked from Darjeeling to Delhi. Her parents worked as labourers in the tea garden. She was assured a job in Delhi by a placement agency. She was bought for Rs 20,000 and then re-trafficked, raped and exploited by the employers. After, three years, Sita’s father and Nobel Laureate Mr. Kailash Satyarthi found her in Delhi in some house. But, she did not step out saying that she can’t show her face to her father as she has now become impure. Millions of females have gone through the similar situations. 

The highest incidence were observed from the cities of Mumbai, Kolkata, and Delhi according to the latest study by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). More than 600 women and 180 Children go missing almost everyday. According to their data, the most common aims behind trafficking of women are – forced marriages, sexual exploitation, domestic help, bonded labour. The UNODC Global report 2018 on trafficking indicates that the vast majority of detected victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation were females. About 35% of the victims trafficked for forced labour were also females, both women and girls. At the same time, more than half of the victims of trafficking for forced labour were men. Madhya Pradesh recorded the maximum number of cases of missing children while Maharashtra reported the most cases of missing women. 

Covid 19 has worsen the situation as during this time the poor have become poorer. The trafficker use the financial needs of the women and children to exploit and traffic them. They are taking advantage of prolonged school closure and loss of family livelihood. People of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (founded by Mr Kailash Satyarthi), with the help of government agencies have rescued around 9,000 children from trafficking during the first lockdown.

The Human Trafficking is a heinous crime, but it is also propeller of other crimes like, Child Marriages, Bonded labour, Prostitution, drugs-related crimes, corruption, illicit business. It creates a black economy that fuels all such crimes. 


  • Under Article 23, the Right against Exploitation, Trafficking in Human Beings or Persons is prohibited. 
  • The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA) is the premier legislation for prevention of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.
  • Criminal Law (amendment) Act 2013 has come into force wherein Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code has 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.
  • Protection of Children from Sexual offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, which has come into effect from 14th November, 2012 is a special law to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation. It provides precise definitions for different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative sexual assault, sexual harassment.
  • There are other specific legislations enacted relating to trafficking in women and children Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994, apart from specific Sections in the IPC, e.g. Sections 372 and 373 dealing with selling and buying of girls for the purpose of prostitution.


Though, India has many laws that prevent and criminalise the human trafficking, India needs a strong implementation of these laws by a separate government agencies. The data of NCRB, is nerve shaking. There is no sense of having laws on it, if the government can’t prevent it and implement it. It is a failure of administration and the government, that still in 2021, a large amount of people are trafficked. Human Trafficking is not a crime committed against an individual, it is a crime against the whole society. The administration and competent agencies should follow Raid-Rescue-Rehabilitation method, beyond the sector of sex work, to the labour sectors also.

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