Andhra Pradesh: The First Indian State to Penalize Sex Buyers to Curb Demand for Sex

//Andhra Pradesh: The First Indian State to Penalize Sex Buyers to Curb Demand for Sex

Andhra Pradesh: The First Indian State to Penalize Sex Buyers to Curb Demand for Sex

On January 12, Friday, Andhra Pradesh issued a Government Order to criminalize the sex buyers, the ‘end client’, who buys sex from the trafficked victims working in brothels, including women and children. To this, Andhra Pradesh becomes the first Indian state to explore and initiate the idea of penalizing demand for flesh trade as a part of a crackdown on human slavery that’s been ravaging our country since forever.

Human Trafficking, as per the United Nations is defined as – “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”

Sex trafficking, debt bondage and forced labor are the three most common types of human trafficking perceived and performed, out of which sex trafficking is the worst and most heinous of all crimes. In a year, almost 1 million children are exploited in the hands of traffickers in the dark world of commercial sex trade.

According to a report of Walk Free Foundation, an Australian NGO, 14 million people are pinned in the shackles of captivity in India, alone. In many cases, crafty traffickers lure children and vulnerable young women with false promises of giving them well-paid work. In the hope of earning a decent livelihood, thousands of hopeful souls flock to metropolitan cities from rural, back-dated villages only to become victims of modern slavery in the hands of vile traffickers and brothel managers.

The Indian criminal justice system, plagued by cramped resources and its own issues of corruption has done very little to limit trafficking. In the past decade, the horizon of human trafficking has expanded staggeringly despite the existence of Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 – the kingpins of prostitution racket booked under this Act face rigorous imprisonment for a year and a fine of Rs 2000, if nabbed first time. When convicted twice, the punishment is for 2 years, but may extend up to 5 years, including a fine of Rs 2000.

In the wake of these eye-gaping findings and estimates, Indian Government has started taking the severity of trafficking, seriously.

Last year, a new anti-trafficking bill was drafted in India to check the steep rise of trafficking crimes – by raising the penalties of offenders, amalgamating several existing laws and offering proper rehabilitation facilities to the victims.

In India, strict laws exist against sex traffickers, sexual abusers, brothel managers and operating brothels, but the people who purchase sex, and gives fuel to the fire hardly face any criminal charges or are even prosecuted. They largely go scot free in the end. To bring a change in the existing law, the Andhra Pradesh government has appointed a panel of judiciary experts and campaigners to scrutinize the anti-trafficking laws that could be charged upon the end buyers of sex. For this, the GO has asked to file the recommendations within 60 days.

Sunitha Krishnan, who will be on the seven-member advisory group hinted to a part of the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act, which states, charges can be applied to a “person who carries on prostitution and the person with whom such prostitution is carried on”. Besides Krishnan, the panel, aka advisory group will consist of a woman IPS officer, a Nalsar professor, senior advocate M Bhaskara Lakshmi, member-nominee of the Chief Justice and special secretary of the women and child welfare department as convener.

“The buyers are the ones creating the demand,” Krishnan quoted. “Girls will continue to be sold until buyers are criminalized.”Also, the campaigners demanded police involvement, unless the anti-trafficking efforts are combined with the police force targeting the brothels, sexual slavery will find no end.

We appreciate the bold steps taken by the chief minister of AP – N. Chandrababu Naidu: he felt no qualm to stand up firmly for the safety of women and children. It’s good to hear that a CHANGE IN LAW is finally in place to target the sex buyers, who are at the core of the heinous crime of sex trafficking and from where the actual demand generates.

The emerging legal landscape in India is definitely turning towards a better end, and we as a community should unify and standup together to #EndDemand.

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By | January 23rd, 2018|Categories: Human Trafficking Activist|Tags: , |0 Comments