Human trafficking is one of the biggest evils in the society right now. Human trafficking is defined as Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of a person for the purpose of exploitation by the means of threat, force, coercion, abduction, fraud, and deception, abuse of power or by inducement. The purpose of human trafficking can be anything, prostitution, organ removal, exploitation, sex trafficking etc. Every year millions of men and women and children suffering the crime of human trafficking. This crime can be committed anywhere in the world and it does not have to be violent every time. The methods like manipulation; luring, fake relationships are also used to lure a person into trafficking. Sex trafficking a trafficking for labor exploitation is very common. Child trafficking is also very commonly committed crime. Child trafficking is a very dynamic part of human trafficking. Traffickers adopt new methods to lure a child into his trap and then sell him in the market. Child trafficking also includes violence of physical and sexual nature. It acts as a hindrance to the right of a child to grow up in a safe and secure environment. Children are trafficked for the purpose of labor. Girl child is trafficked for the purpose of forced prostitution, sex workers etc. People work in organized rackets for the trafficking of children for different purposes. Many orphanages and organization also work with these rackets and lure children to send them in trafficking. The crime of trafficking is dealt under Section 370 of Indian Penal Code. Section 370 also provides for punishment of child trafficking. It states that if the offence is pertaining to trafficking of a minor, then it shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment which shall not be less than 10 years but may extend up to Life Imprisonment and fine. Rigorous Imprisonment not less than 14 years may extend up to Life Imprisonment and fine. If a person has already been convicted of the offence of trafficking of a minor on more than one occasion, then such person shall be punished with life imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life and fine.
The purpose of Child trafficking can be as follows-

  1. Labor Industry: – For the purpose of using the children as Bonded labor, Domestic work, Agricultural labor, Construction work, Carpet industry, garment industry, fish / shrimp export as well as other sites of work in the formal and informal economy.
  2. Illegal Activities -For the purpose of Begging, Organ trade, Drug peddling & smuggling
  3. Sexual Exploitation – Especially girl child is trafficked for the purpose of forced prostitution, socially and religiously sanctified forms of prostitutions, Sex tourism, Pornography.
  4. For and through marriage- Children are trafficked through the means of fake marriage for different purposes such as prostitution as mentioned above. Similar children are trafficked by different ways for marriage.
  5.  For and through adoption – Children are trafficked through the system of adoption and are sent to organization for bonded labor or exposition.

The strata of society which is prone to child trafficking is especially women who are married, unmarried or divorced are trafficked mainly for the purpose of prostitution and sex work. Young children are prone to trafficking, street children, slum children, children employed for domestic helps, orphan children etc. The above strata are prone to trafficking due to reasons like lack of education, need for employment etc. Areas like Industries involving child labor, Residential school, Jails, Highways, Undeveloped areas are prone to child trafficking.
Laws have been formulated to curb the social evil of child trafficking in international and national sphere as well. In India the following laws govern child trafficking-

Constitution of India:
Under the Constitution of India following articles deal with laws to curb child trafficking-

  1. Article 15(3) – empowers the State to make special provisions for children as and when it is necessary for the wellbeing of children.
  2. Article 21 – The right to life in Article 21 encompasses all sections of the society including women and children. Therefore, right to live with human dignity is available to a child also.
  3.  Article 23 – Guarantees right against exploitation; prohibits traffic in human beings and forced labor and makes their practice punishable under law.
  4. Article 24 – Prohibits employment of children below 14 years of age in factories, mines or other hazardous employment.
  5. Article 39 (e) of the Constitution states that health and strength of men and women and tender age of children is not to be exploited, and citizen should not be forced into activities which are not suitable according to their age and strength due to any economic and financial necessity.
  6. Article 39 (f) also places an obligation upon the state to direct its policies in such a manner that children get the facilities and opportunities to grow up in a healthy environment, and their childhood is protected against material and moral abandonment and exploitation.

Indian Penal Code:
Under the Indian Penal code following provisions are significant-
Section 366A – procuration of a minor girl (below 18 years of age) from one part of the country to the other is punishable.
Section 366B – importation of a girl below 21 years of age is punishable.
Section 372 & 373 – Selling and buying of minor for the purposes of prostitution have been made punishable respectively.
Section 374 – provides punishment for compelling any person to labor against his will.

Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986:
Prohibits employment of children in certain specified occupations (S. 3) and also lays down conditions of work of children (S. 6 to 13)

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000:
The juvenile Justice is enacted in accordance to the convention on the Rights of Child which is one of the most significant laws governing child law. The law focuses on children prone to child trafficking due to their vulnerable condition and therefore is likely to be lurked into child trafficking. It provides for establishment of Juvenile Justice Board (Section 4), observation and special homes (Sec 8 & 9). Section 44 onwards provisions pertaining to rehabilitation and social integration is incorporated.

Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, (ITPA) 1956 (renamed as the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956 (SITA) :
The above-mentioned act was made in accordance with the UN objectives of 1950 and the objective was focused on abolishing trafficking and for the purpose of abolishing prostitution. The following provisions of the act deal with trafficking –

  1. S. 3 – Punishment for keeping a brothel or allowing premises to be used as a brothel.
  2. S. 4 – Punishment for living on the earnings of prostitution
  3. S. 5 – Procuring, including or taking persons for prostitution;
  4. S. 6 – Detaining a person in premises where prostitution is carried on;
  5. S. 7 – Prostitution in or vicinity of public places;
  6. S. 8 – Seducing or soliciting for prostitution;
  7. S. 9 – Seduction of a person in custody.

Vishaljot v Union of India,
In the present case the issue of the children being pushed into sex trafficking and prostitution was brought into light by the petitioner and directions were sought by them for the protection and rehabilitation of children. The Supreme Court issued direction to all the states for setting up rehabilitation homes for children who were found begging in the streets.

Prerana v. State of Maharashtra &Ors.
In this case a raid was conducted by the Mumbai police where four brother keepers were arrested along with 24 girls who were rescued from these brothels. The girls were not arrested and were taken into custody under Section 15 and 17 of the PITA acts. The magistrate by orders released the minor girls and the adult girls as well. The way of release of the girls was found to be contrary to the law. It was held by the court that the magistrate does not have the authority to release girl under the age of 18 and he should refer the case to the Juvenile Justice Board and incase of rescue of any girl in circumstances as above the magistrate should determine the age of the girl under section 17(2) if the PITA Act. Children, who are likely to be abused, tortured or sold for the purpose of sexual abuse or illegal acts will have to be produced before the Child Welfare Committee. Directions were given to the state for rehabilitation of these victims of trafficking.