The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (ITPA)

The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act or ITPA is a 1986 amendment of legislation passed in 1956 as a result of the signing by India of the United Nations’ declaration in 1950 in New York on the suppression of trafficking.

The act, then called the All India Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (SITA), was amended to the current law. The laws were intended as a means of limiting and eventually abolishing prostitution in India by gradually criminalising various aspects of sex work. 

This is an important topic based on which questions may be asked in the upcoming IAS Exam. Candidates can find all the important information and details about the ITPA further below in this article. 

About Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1986

  • In 1950 the Government of India ratified the International Convention for the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of others. In 1956 India passed the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956 (SITA)
  • SITA was amended in 1986 and the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act was passed
  • The act states the illegality of prostitution and the punishment for owning any such related establishment
  • Any person involved in any phase of the chain activities like recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring, or receiving of people for the purpose of prostitution is also liable to be punished
  • If a person is found guilty of involving a child in any such activity, he/she is punishable by law and may be imprisoned for seven or more years

Get a list of the important acts that transformed India in the link.

Following the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act many other Organisations took initiatives to end the trafficking of people for the offensive crime of sexual abuse or forced prostitution.

The Law Commission of India is an executive body whose chief function is legal reforms in the country. For information about the Law Commission, aspirants can visit the linked article. 

Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2006

The Immoral Traffic Prevention Amendment Bill, 2006 is a revised version of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1986. Given below are the important points of the Amendment bill:

  • The Bill deletes provisions that penalised prostitutes for soliciting clients. It penalises any person visiting a brothel for the purpose of sexual exploitation of trafficked victims
  • All offences listed in the Bill would be tried in camera, i.e., the public would be excluded from attending the trial
  • This Bill punishes trafficking for the purpose of prostitution. Trafficking for other purposes (such as bonded labour and domestic work) are not covered by the Bill
  • The Bill constitutes authorities at the centre and state level to combat trafficking. However, it does not elaborate on the role, function and composition of these authorities

Know what is Human Trafficking, its causes and its legal framework in India, at the linked article.  

Initiatives to combat trafficking of Women and Children

Apart from the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, various other initiatives have been taken up by the Government and other concerned authorities. Discussed below are the same:

  • National Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children 1998 was formulated
  • Ministry of Home Affairs has set up a dedicated cell for prevention of trafficking
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) along with the Ministry of External Affairs has endeavoured to create special task forces to combat cross border trafficking
  • The MWCD in collaboration with NIPCCD and UNICEF has developed three manuals for ‘Judicial Handbook on combating Trafficking of women and Children for Commercial Sexual Exploitation’

Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1986 [UPSC Notes] PDF:-Download PDF Here

To know the detailed UPSC Syllabus for the prelims and mains examination, candidates can visit the linked article. 

For the latest exam updates, preparation strategy and study material turn to BYJU’S for assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions on Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act

Q 1. What is the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act?

Ans. The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act was first enacted in 1956 according to which sexual exploitation of any male or female is a cognizable offence.

Q 2. What is SITA Act?

Ans. The All India Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (SITA) was passed in 1956 for the prohibition of human trafficking. It was later rives in 1986 and the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act was passed.

Q 3. Is human trafficking legal in India?

Ans. Under Article 23 (1) The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA) of the Indian Constitution, Trafficking in Human Beings or Persons is prohibited in India.

Q 4. What is human trafficking?

Ans. Forced or illegal transfer of people for the purpose of labour or other illegal activities is called human trafficking.

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