“Women found in flesh trade, should be viewed more as victims of adverse socio-economic circumstances rather than offenders in our society. The commercial exploitation of sex may be regarded as a crime but those trapped in custom oriented prostitution and gender oriented prostitution should be viewed as victims of gender oriented vulnerability.” Goes the Supreme Court in Gaurav Jain V Union of Indian.
The constitution under Article 23 mandates prohibition of trafficking and all forms of exploitation. India being a signatory to the international Convention for the Suppression of Traffic in Persons and Exploitation, 1950 passed a Central law to implement the provisions of the convention. In 1956 the Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act known as SITA, was passed and after amendments it is now known as Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act.
Definitions.—In this Act. unless the context otherwise requires—
(a) “brothel“ includes any house, room, conveyance or place, or any portion of any house, room, conveyance or place, which is used for purposes of sexual exploitation or abuse for the gain of another person or for the mutual gain of two or more prostitutes;
(aa) “child“ means a person who has not completed the age of eighteen years;
(b) “corrective institution“ means an institution, by whatever name called (being an institution established or licensed as such under Section 21), in which persons, who are in need of correction, may be detained under this Act, and includes a shelter where under trials may be kept in pursuance of this Act;
(f) “prostitution“ means the sexual exploitation or abuse of persons for commercial purposes or for consideration in money or in any other kind, and the expression “prostitute” shall be construed accordingly;
(g) “protective home“ means an institution, by whatever name called (being an institution established or licensed as such under Section 21), in which persons who are in need of care and protection, may be kept under this Act and where appropriate technically qualified persons, equipments and other facilities have been provided but does not include,—
(i) a shelter where under trials may be kept in pursuance of this Act, or
(ii) a corrective institution;
(h) “public place“ means any place intended for use by, or accessible to, the public and includes any public conveyance;
(i) “special police officer” means a police officer appointed by or on behalf of the State Government to be in charge of police duties within a specified area for the purpose of this Act;
(j) “trafficking police officer“ means a police officer appointed by the Central Government under subsection
Punishment is also prescribed for seduction, detaining a person in a place where prostitution is carried on, for keeping a brothel and living on the earnings of prostitution. Special police officers can even arrest without warrants if it so demands. More often these powers bestowed on officers and biased view on prostitution leads to torture of the people involved in this profession.