Human Trafficking In India

Human trafficking is a heinous crime and is illegal too. It means carrying people from one place to another generally from one country to another. The most common reason for human trafficking is forced labor, which does cause many kinds of harassment, sexual exploitation, etc. Human trafficking is not just a heinous crime but a great violation of human rights too. This paper does highlights the reasons for human trafficking and do highlights the consequences of the same. Various laws have been codified by the Indian Government to punish the people involved in such a heinous crime, which to is being highlighted in this paper.


Trafficking means an illegal trade. Human trafficking is carrying out a trade on humans. Humans are trafficked for sexual slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, extraction of organs or tissues, forced marriage, forced labour, or domestic servitude. Human trafficking after drugs and the arms trade is the third-largest organized crime across the world. Human trafficking across the world is mainly done for sexual exploitation where women and children turn as victims to it. Human trafficking is done for several purposes but sadly in our country the act which exists against human trafficking is Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA) and it only combats against human trafficking if it is done for sexual exploitation. So the legal provisions relating to human trafficking as a whole must be strengthened to prevent human trafficking in India. Human trafficking leads to violation of the human rights of individuals and also they are subjected to revictimization. The laws for human trafficking must be strengthened that it meets all the requirements for preventing human trafficking.

What is a crime?

The term Crime is derived from the Latin word crimen meaning offence and also wrong-doer.

According to Blackstone Crime is “an act committed or omitted in violation of Public Law forbidding or commanding it”.

Criminology is the scientific study of crime, including its causes, responses by law enforcement, and methods of prevention. It is a sub-group of sociology, which is the scientific study of social behaviour.[1]

Reasons for human trafficking

There are many reasons for human trafficking. They are determined by political, economic and cultural factors. Trafficking in persons is according to the doctrine of supply and demand. Firstly, there are certain factors in the country such as the need for employment, poverty, social conditions, instances of armed or war conflicts lack political and economic stability, lack of proper access to education and information, etc. Secondly, in developed and wealthy countries there is a demand for inexpensive products, cheap labour and low-priced services. The organized crime groups have found an opportunity for making huge profits by connecting the supply and demand that by clubbing the first and the second instances. These reasons lead to increased migration but a condition of restricted migration due to numerous policies of the State. People use smuggling channels for human trafficking exposing themselves to exploitation, deceit, violence and abuse.

In the case of Shri Bodhisattwa Gautam vs Miss Subhra Chakraborty, a person promised a woman to marry her and undertook a wedding ceremony too but later on it turned to be false therefore the court pronounced the perpetrator of the crime to compensate the women. In another case of PUCL v. Union of India, the court-ordered compensation to be paid as the children were trafficked and bonded for labour. In another landmark case of Vishal Jeet v. Union of India and others, the Honourable court directed to give protection and rehabilitation to those who have been dedicated as domestic workers(basis) by their families or community and are currently in the business of prosecution. In another case of Gaurav Jain v. Union of India, a PIL was filled where the protection of the children of sex workers was asked (protection from this vulnerable and harmful environment), the court agreed to this and granted the desired protection.

Consequences for human trafficking

The victims in the process of trafficking in persons are abused and exploited in certain conditions which may result in short term and long term minor and severe psychological and physical attacks, diseases especially sexually transmitted diseases or HIV viruses. This condition can even lead to permanent disability and death. The direct consequences of human trafficking are aggression, depression, disorientation, alienation and difficulties in concentration. Many studies have shown that injuries and traumas acquired during the process of trafficking can last for a long period even after the person has become free from exploitation and this mainly occurs when the victim is not given proper care and counsel. Even the rehabilitation process for the victims cannot be guaranteed for a certain result. Although the victims are brought out from the physical problems, the trauma and the psychological problems do not allow the victim to recover from the consequences. Some of the victims find it difficult to adapt to the normal lives that they previously carried out. The sad part about the victims of human trafficking is that the rights of the victims are violated even after they come out from the status of exploitation. In many cases they face re-victimization. In many of the countries, the protection provided to the trafficked persons is directly conditioned by their willingness to cooperate with the competent authorities. But this conditional protection is contrary to the full access and protection of human rights and the use of trafficked persons as an instrument in criminal proceedings is not allowed. [2]

The legal framework to counter human trafficking in India

Indian Penal Code 1860:

Interestingly the Indian Penal Code which came into existence in 1860 addresses the problem of human trafficking in human beings. It is addressed in Section 370 and 370 A of the Indian Penal Code. It prohibited the trafficking of women and girls and prescribed ruthless punishments for the criminals. It lays down that anyone who buys or sells the person under the age of 18 years for prostitution and sexual exploitation and other immoral purposes shall be liable to imprisonment for up to 10 years and also be liable to fine. It also recognizes cross border trafficking into prostitution and whoever imports into India from any country outside India any girl under the age of twenty-one years with the intent that she may be, or knowing it to be likely that she will be, forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.[3]

Constitution of India, 1949

The Indian Constitution of India prohibits trafficking in persons and guarantees many of the internationally acknowledged various human rights norms such as the right to life and personal liberty, the right to equality, right to freedom, the right to constitutional remedies. The right to be free from exploitation is also assured as one of the fundamental rights of any person living in India.[4]

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000

As indicated by this Act, there is no contrast between a minor and a kid. All the people younger than eighteen years are viewed as kids. A youngster who is a kid needing care and insurance (NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK 2016).

The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989

Numerous survivors of dealing have a place with minimized gatherings. Dealers target just such region which is in reverse in the social and educational sense. This gives an extra apparatus to defend ladies and young ladies having a place with planned Caste and booked Tribes and to make a more noteworthy weight on the dealer or guilty party to demonstrate his absence of intrigue in the matter. On the off chance that the guilty party realizes that casualty has a place with these networks, at that point this demonstration can be viably used to counter the offence of dealing. Segment 3 of this demonstration manages barbarities submitted against individuals having a place with Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes. It covers a few types of dealing, for example, constrained or fortified works and sexual misuse of ladies. The least discipline of a half year is given which may reach out to five years if the offence is covered under area 3.

Improper Traffic Prevention Act of 1986

The public authority of India approved the International Convention for the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Persons and the abuse of the Prostitution of Others in 1950. As a result of this endorsement of the show, the Government of India passed the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act (SITA) in the year 1956. In the year 1986, the demonstration was additionally corrected and changed which was known as the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1986 (PITA).


The laws for illegal exploitation should be fortified that it meets all the necessities for forestalling illegal exploitation. Individuals who are in destitution line the nation over should be made mindful of illegal exploitation and its results to keep them from turning out to be casualties. Numerous public and worldwide workshops and meetings can be directed the nation over so the overall individuals and the public authority can hold hands to forestall illegal exploitation. The weak segments of the general public should be secured by the Government so they don’t fall as casualties of illegal exploitation. The casualties of the illegal exploitation are just the people from beneath the neediness line so the offence of illegal exploitation can be incredibly forestalled if the Government helps the helpless segments of the general public and furnishes them with satisfactory schooling and business.


[1] Prof. N.V. Paranjape, Criminology, Penology Victimology, Central Law Publications, 17th Edition

[2] Vimal Vidushy, Human Trafficking in India, International Journal of Applied Research, 2016.

[3] Prof. S.N Mishra, Indian Penal Code, Central law Publications

[4]Pandey. J.N, Constitutional Law Of India 77 (52nd Ed 2015) 

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