The Indian Immoral Traffic Prevention Act has been failing to protect girls and women from sex trafficking. It criminalizes and stigmatizes trafficking victims and allows the true perpetrators of crime - traffickers, pimps, johns - to exploit women and children with impunity.
Join the members of Apne Aap Women Worldwide in a global call to change outdated policies and empower women and girls.
We appeal to the President of India for a law that prohibits the purchase of sexual services and addresses the root cause of prostitution and sex trafficking: the demand and men who assume the right to buy and sell human beings for sexual exploitation.
Together, we can end sex trafficking.
We further want Sec 5 C to shift the burden of proof for the purchase of sex to the male buyer rather than the prostituted woman who is often asked to prove her age or her consent to being prostituted in police stations and courts across the country. Traumatized, abused, stigmatized and fearful, the prostituted woman is unable to coherently prove when her choice was taken away or at what point she was recruited into the sex industry, allowing the buyer to escape full or any penal sentencing. Further, ITPA’s lack of clarity leads to the criminalization of the victims of sex trafficking. There are innumerable examples where victims of trafficking are doubly victimized - first jointly at the hands of traffickers and customers and later on by law enforcements agencies by their false prosecution.
We stand with Apne Aap Women Worldwide in our belief that prostitution is not a choice but a form of male violence against women, which is borne from inequality, poverty, and lack of opportunity and is driven by the demand of male buyers for purchased sex.
The Central Bureau of Investigation says, thousands of girls are recruited, seduced, kidnapped every year and currently 3 million are trapped in prostitution; Most of them are from marginalized groups such as Schedule Caste, Denotified and Schedule Tribes, Backward Class and Minorities who need special care and protection.
We want the President to acknowledge and address the lack of choices of this country’s marginalized women and children that the trafficking industry takes advantage of by ensuring that the amended law provide viable alternatives to prostitution for the marginalized women who become victims of the sex industry.
ITPA is inadequate and incompatible with the international obligations that the Government of India has under numerous international conventions and treaties, most significantly under the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children that it ratified on 5th May, 2011.
The existing legislation neither addresses the issues of demand for purchased sex nor provides effective protection for victims’ of trafficking. An attempt to make improvement in the legislation through the enactment of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2006 went in vain because of the lapse of the Bill.
India, the great country of all of us should not be allowed to become a haven for sex trafficking where anyone can justify their act of rape, sexual exploitation, and sexual perversion in terms of payment of money. Prostitution is per se incompatible with the dignity and honor of human beings and is a violation of basic human rights.
We appeal to the President to order concerned authorities to legislate appropriate law:
1. To criminalize the purchase of sex as is found in parallel legislations in several countries including Sweden, Norway, Philippines and some states of United Stated of America;
2. Prosecution for solicitation for prostitution with safeguards so that prostituted women cannot be prosecuted;
3. Protection and de-criminalization of prostituted women;
4. Entitlement of different services from authorities in non-discriminatory manner for prostituted and at risk women and girls;
5. Confiscation and forfeiture of the property/income generated out of exploitation and creation of Trafficking Victims Trust Fund;
6. Proper repatriation and protection of foreign national trafficking victims;
7. Constitution of different authorities for creation of an accountability mechanism as well as effective enforcement of legislation.
By signing, I pledge my support to ending the exploitation of this country’s most vulnerable persons and beseech the government to return to these women and girls the basic human rights and personal dignity that the sex trafficking industry has robbed them of.