The terms human trafficking and prostitution are often used interchangeably with one another but they are not the same. Prostitution is defined as the act of engaging in sexual activity for money without the need for force, deception, or compulsion. And whereas on the other hand, human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labour or commercial sex act. According to the National Human Trafficking Report “it is a crime involving the exploitation of someone for the purposes of compelled labour or a commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud or coercion. Therefore, we can say that Human Trafficking is not prostitution.
There is increase in demand for human trafficking due to 2 main factors inclusive of the fact that children and women are exposed to such an environment sometimes which makes them vulnerable and easy to target.
Those 2 elements are hereinafter:
- Cheap labour: when women and children are exploited, by the use of force, fraud, coercion etc., they are mostly trafficked to developed countries in illegal ways, and when they are sent to such countries, these victims are forced to work as cheap labour for either domestic or commercial purposes.
- High profits: As a result of the low cost of labour, when these victims are “sold” as sex workers or for labour jobs, some are driven to sell their organs on the black market in order to make a profit.
Legislations relating to prostitution and human trafficking in India.
First and foremost, human trafficking is prohibited under Article 23(1), Indian constitution, and if anyone who does try to get involved in human trafficking, and abduct people for sexual activities or for labour exploitation, will be infringing the other person’s fundamental rights, which is highly punishable by the law. And such person can issue a writ petition to safeguard their fundamental rights.
The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA), is one of the most important law when it comes to human trafficking, as it helps in prevention of human trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.
Section 3 and its further sub-section of immoral traffic prevention Act, states Punishment for keeping a Brothel or allowing premises to be used as a Brothel, the punishment given is quite rigorous and for the first conviction, the imprisonment would be anywhere between 1 year and 3 years along with fine and so. But for the second conviction the term of imprisonment shall be between any time for 2 years and 5 years along with fine of rupees 2000/-
Section 5 and further sub sections of the immoral traffic prevention act, talks about Procuring, inducing or taking person for the sake of prostitution, and punishment of the sort would include term of imprisonment anywhere between 2 years and 7 years, and along with fine which may extend to 2000 rupees. If the person, who is involved in prostitution against their will, the term of imprisonment shall from of seven years which shall extend to imprisonment for a term of fourteen years
Criminal law (amendment) act, 2013 has come in force where Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code has been replaced with Sections 370 and 370A of the IPC, which provide for comprehensive measures to combat the growing threat of sex trafficking, including trafficking of children for exploitation in any form, including bodily exploitation or any form of sexual exploitation, slave labour, servitude, or the forced removal or their organs for gaining profits and selling them up in the black market or illegally try to sell these organs to doctors
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act, 2012, is a special legislation designed to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation. It defines many types of sexual abuse, such as penetrative and non-penetrative sexual assault, as well as sexual harassment. And the act also defines the term of imprisonment as well as the fine they might have to pay if the offenders are in contravention of any of the pertaining section in POCSO act, 2012.
Internationally, India through many conventions have tried to combat human trafficking and prevent prostitution as much as they can. They have tried implementing rigid punishments which includes few years in prison and along with fine. One of the few conventions are:
- UN convention: India has adopted the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC), which includes the Prohibition, Elimination, and Punishment of Human Trafficking of Persons, Especially Women and Children, as one of its Protocols. Various steps have been made to implement the convention, and the Protocol has resulted in the enactment of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013, which makes human trafficking a particular crime.
- SAARC convention: The SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking of Women and Children for Prostitution has been recognized by India. To put the SAARC Convention into effect, a Regional Task Force was formed. So far, five Regional Task Force meetings have been organised to learn from the experiences of Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) created in numerous cities around the nation.
- Bilateral mechanism: A Task Force of India and Bangladesh was formed to deal with cross-border trafficking and to handle different issues pertaining to trafficking avoidance, victim identification, and rehabilitation, as well as to make the process faster and more victim-friendly between India and Bangladesh.
These conventions are made and recognized amongst different countries, so that these victims can have a safe environment and not be ashamed of what they chose as career or in what they were forced to make a living. These all precautionary measures are taken for protection of these victims.
Human trafficking and prostitution is a matter of grave importance, and these conventions and legislation which are made in India as well, adopted internationally are to be highly respected by the government officials and the citizens of each particular country. Exploitation of children and women just to work as sex workers or as cheap labour infringes their fundamental right of protection of life and personal liberty given in the Indian constitution, everyone as a right to live their lives with utmost dignity and however they want, but no one should be forced into living a life they do not want and which is filled with malice and could be termed as illegal.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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