Author – Sundaram Bharti,

Dr. D.Y Patil Law College, Pimpri, Pune

Co-Author: Aditya Pandey

The ICFAI University, Dehradun

ISSN: 2582-3655


Trafficking has been one of the most heinous crimes across globe. It is an acute violation of human rights as well as the basic fundamental rights of the victim. On the basis of the definition given in the Trafficking in Persons Protocol, it is evident that trafficking in person has three constituent elements viz., the act; the mode; and the purpose. The paper contemplates the modes/methods id est how the victims are lured and exploited. The traffickers are weaponed with all such caboodles and adopt various methods for trafficking women and children particularly. They may entice by offering jobs, offer to pay money, the promise of marraige, coercion, etc. However, the very purpose of such trafficking may be sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery, removal and smuggle of body organs, etc. It comes up with a very appalling impact destroying not only the physical strength but also the mental stability of the victims. Sexual exploitation may diagnose the aggrieved with vicious STDs like AIDS, HIV, etc., or there is a chance that slavery and bonded labour may lead them to malnutrition. Apart from the personal destruction of the victims, its aftermath to the society in remis also not welcoming. Such incidents deliberately destroy the peace and stability of the social base. However, the steps are being taken by the government in framing stringent legislation for such crimes. The present paper will help to access the trauma, the instability of the trafficked victims as well as it also reaches out to put a bridle on such atrocious acts.


Trafficking in women and children is the most odious violation of human rights. Trading in human misery is of grim concern and it is among the major crimes committed. It is the violation of several human rights as it infringes right to life, right to liberty and human dignity, right to privacy, right to education, right to employment, etc. And each of which is necessary to live a dignified life. Sex trafficking originally came from Greek states and then it was followed by other different states which regulated prostitution but in spite of the best efforts of the state and other social agencies, prostitution has remained a major social problem and has remained since the last 2500 years, which clearly shows how deep-rooted the situation is in human social life.[1] The trade of trafficking is the fastest growing criminal activity in rem. The trafficked women and children are recruited into various jobs via prostitution, domestic labor, adoption, begging but here the impact of trafficking is to be studied specifically about the sex workers. 

In the history of India, the term “trafficking” has been defined in section 2(z)  of  Goa’s children’s act, 2003[2] for the first time as: “child trafficking means the procurement, recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, legally or illegally, within or across borders by means of threat or use of force or another form of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of giving or receiving payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for monetary gain or otherwise”. Though sex trafficking has not been defined particularly, a strait implication can be made that sex trafficking would be the same as defined above.

The UN Tip Protocol[3] defines sex trafficking as; “Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons by using force, coercion, abduction, fraud, and deception to control and exploit another person, including but not limited to, sex exploitation”.

Therefore it can be implicated that trafficking is the contamination of the victims and it deprives the individuals from their basic human rights. This form of violence against women and children is just increasing year by year and has become a major industry which is controlled by well-organized international crime syndicates.[4]

Vulnerabilities At Sources

In India, a particular section of the society are more vulnerable to trafficking, they can easily be manipulated to be trafficked. Low level of education and unawareness of legal rights is one of the major factors of trafficking. In remote areas where the light of education and general awareness is very low, there trafficking is actively run. Prajwala, a Hyderabad based anti-trafficking organization, concluded that many young girls are becoming the victims of human trafficking due to lack of education and poverty.[5] This happens majorly because girls don’t raise their voice in society they remain silent and tolerate it and also because of the lack of awareness among the people. The draw of city life also leads to such incidents. In hilly areas of northeastern India where people are really separated from the rest of India. They are not in touch with the nightlife like in Mumbai, Delhi or Kolkata so they can be easily lured to such proposals and are trapped.

Natural disasters are also one of the acute causes of trafficking in India. West Bengal is considered to be a prime source area due to its susceptibility to floods. The administrative sources are not so strong during such conditions and they eventually do not pay attention to such things like trafficking rather they work for rescue. Thus giving traffickers a chance to commit crimes. During 2009, in Aila cyclone, in border areas of Bengal and Bangladesh, about 8000 people were reported missing, many of whom were women and children.[6] Nevertheless, political factors may also create vulnerabilities.

In a National Human Rights study, [7] the traffickers stated that clients’ requirements in the trafficked person might be based upon their good physical features that is their body shape, virginity, fair complexion, those who are in the younger age category. One fifth stated that virginity and readiness of the aggrieved to succumb to all kinds of exploitation as the major criteria, wherein the remaining mentioned the combination of the above listed. [8]

In India, the population of women and children in sex work is considered to be between 70,000 to 1 million, out of which 30 percent are below twenty years of age. A study 1992, estimates that every time they transport twenty thousand girls are being transported from one part of the country to another part of the country.[9] According to a report, in 2015, the police investigated 4,203 trafficking cases of which 3,363 cases were only on sex trafficking.[10] This investigation was an upgraded version of investigation in the year 2014, where 3,056 trafficking cases including 2,604 cases were only cases regarding sex trafficking were investigated. According to NCRB in 1999, there were 9368 cases of trafficked women and children.[11]. The figures for the NGO’s, on the other hand, are different and even higher. It is estimated that one million women are victims of sex trafficking every year in India.[12]

Modus Operandi And Functioning Of Traffickers In India.

In India, there is a huge chain of traffickers which includes traffickers from the lower level to the apex level. It is a hierarchical form that consists of several tiers that is master traffickers, primary traffickers, secondary traffickers, and the spotters. The sex trading is organized and it revolves around that master traffickers. He/she sits on the apex level who handles wants to make maximum profit out of the business. His acts are completely unnoticed. The demand-supply trends component their profit. The primary traffickers are the procurers that are dealing with the purchase of trafficked, transportation, and other miscellaneous things. They are considered as the basic merchants of the trade. On the other hand, secondary traffickers are the ones who actually traffic they maybe their relatives, friends, criminals, etc. They visit bazaars, markets, villages, railway stations, and other places where they get or collect information about the aggrieved people.[13] On the other hand, the spotters are the ones who give feedback to the primary traffickers who further pass on the message to the secondary traffickers to commit such offences. This is the entire process of trafficking for large groups in India, for who sex trafficking has become a business.

The traffickers are weaponeer with all such caboodles and adopt various methods for trafficking of women and children. The source of vulnerability of the victim determines the modus operandi of the traffickers. In India, there are certain methods which are most commonly used they generally

  • offer job as domestic servants,
  • to get employed and work in the film industry,
  • offer money,
  • lure with pleasure trips,
  • make false promises of marriage,
  • make other false promises,
  • coercion etc.[14]

Apart from these women who are seen alone on the streets late night are highly vulnerable to the traffickers. The traffickers also find it easy to commit offenses on such women who are very poor and are homeless. They are vulnerable to certain monetary help and are easily dragged into sexual exploitation. The study of “Sonagachi”, a Kolkata based brothel, is India’s largest red-light district and is probably the largest red light area in Asia. They have a process of how traffickers actually operate. [15]. It is a hierarchical procedure here as well. The first tier/step they take is a spot the individual who is to be trafficked near their house, schools, small villages, or towns. Subsequently, they possess some greedy proposals of job, of glamour, of marriage, etc. Then they supply them to the traffickers to the second tier, who take those two the destined place. The person acting in tier two are middlemen. The last step is they finally sell women to the final purchaser at throwaway prices and some at higher prices, depending on their needs.

A victim, Rama (name changed), was rescued by a Pune based NGO ‘Saheli’, in conversation with the managing director of the NGO stated that; “ … I was lured for a good life in the city and in consequence, I was offered domestic work. My father took me there and left to take rikshaw auto and I was coerced to do sex jobs”

There are many such girls in every corner of India who are sold by their most trusted figures. The traffickers may include their father, step-brother, boyfriend, lover, uncle, etc. and the middlemen play the role of nexus between such small villages or towns and the red-light area. The term ‘Dalal’ is very commonly used in India for traffickers.[16]

 An original trafficking racket has a very huge chain that may involve police, passport and visa officials, travel agencies, auto-rickshaw drivers, landowners, etc. At times traffickers having a link with the police don’t need to make payments in cash rather they allow “free sex” with the trafficked women/girl. [17]


Sex trafficking does not just destroy the physical beauty of women but also destroys the inner pride of women. It has its effect on the inner soul of the victim. They are completely traumatized by the horrifying experiences, and as a result, even if they are rescued, they start developing suicidal tendencies, alcoholism, disorders, drug addictions are the general results of sex trafficked victims. They are also easily vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). They not only face physical harm but they also face social fragmentation and mental torture. Once they are trafficked they are completely isolated from society. Which shows how an individual’s human rights are completely violated and she can’t face the world after such experiences. 

It degraded the standard and peace of society. As it undermines the effort to promote gender equality in society. Apart from society and the victim, trafficking has a huge impact on the economy of a country. The trafficking of people brings in the third-largest amount of money in the world.[18]This causes variation in the money distribution which results in poverty and unemployment. Nonetheless, the victims of sex trafficking are oppressed to lead an illegal life, criminalizing themselves, because no one in the society accepts them and make the victim feel worse.


The government of India has taken sex trafficking as a very grievous offense and consequently framed some stringent legislation to deal with it. The Indian constitution itself prohibits any kind of human trafficking and refers to it as an offence. [19] Some legislation viz;

  1. The Immortal Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA), is the premier legislation that punishes sex traffickers.
  2. Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act, 2008. Section 5 of this act prohibits soliciting or importuning for the purposes of the prostitution of trafficked persons.
  3. Criminal Law(Amendment) Act, 2013. Section 370A has been included which provides measures to counter human trafficking for any purpose.
  4. Protection of children from sexual offence (POSCO) Act, 2012 provides special protection for children from sexual abuse and exploitation.
  5. There is much other specific legislation regarding the trafficking of women framed and enacted by other states within the territory of India.
  6. The Indian Government to prevent sex trafficking has taken a step forward by passing the trafficking of persons. (Prevention, Protection, and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018.

Apart from the above mentioned legislation, India has signed a Bilateral treaties with Bangladesh to counter this contagious issue/offence across the border. In a report from 2015, the government of India prosecuted about 2,387 traffickers including 2,180 alleged sex traffickers. [20] In a comparison between 2014 and 2015, the later years witnessed an increase in the number of rescued trafficked persons.

The Supreme Court of India, in December 2015, directed the government to establish an organized crime investigation agency to investigate human trafficking cases.[21]An anti-human trafficking web portal was primarily launched in 2014 as an effective way to prevent human trafficking by the method of sharing information about such incidents.[22] The government of India has also established pre-departure information sessions for such domestic – workers who are migrating abroad on the risk of exploitation.[23] Apart from these, the Indian Government follows many other international conventions to counter the issue of Sex- Trafficking.


Sex trafficking burgeons because it generates money out of which a desire to live a pompous life is inclined.  It aspires them easily to the vulnerable which results in trafficking. It is one of those worst and heinous criminal activities which is contagiously spreading all over the world. The Human Trade for any purpose, may it be a sexual trade has excluded the aggrieved from the natural human race and commodified those mere animals or any other commodity. All such hypotheses of human rights and constitutional rights are vain for them and access to justice has, overall, no significance for them. In India, it is totally dominated by the issue of CSE (Commercial Sexual Exploitation) that trafficking as a distinct crime does not get highlighted. The interdictions associated with the victims of human trafficking should be reduced as they face many problems in their marriage and problems like isolation within society. Therefore, a victim must be provided with all such human rights and must enjoy all constitutional rights as a man of general prudence exercises.

[1] Gunjan Kinnu, From Bondage To Freedom: An Analysis of  International Legal Regime on Human Trafficking, 9 (2006, 1st edition).

[2] Goa’s Children’s Act, 2003

[3] The UN TIP Protocol (Protocol To Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking In Person.

[4] S.Sanyal, Measure to Prevent Trafficking of Women And Girls of Southeast Asia, The Indian Journal Of Criminology and Criminalistics, 104 (2003).



[7] NHRC report on Trafficking in Women And Children In India, 151 (2002-03).

[8] Ibid

[9] Gupta (2003)

[10] Report of National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB).

[11] Ibid

[12] Dasra, Zero Traffic: Eliminating Sex Trafficking In India.



[15] Carloyn, Sleightholme and Indrani Sinha, Guilty Without Trial, 37 (1996).




[19] Article 23(1) of the Indian Constitution

[20] National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) ,2015

[21] Ibid

[22] “Launching of Web Portal On Human Trafficking”.

[23] India : Trafficking in Persons Report, (2008.)

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