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Poverty is one of the main causes which brings a helpless woman to the doors of sex trafficking. A woman distressed economically, often ill-treated by parents or seduced by a boyfriend who later turns out to be a pimp or procurer, and lastly uneducated or with a very low education level seldom finds any other avenues to feed herself other than prostitution. There are other social factors which degrade the status of a woman. One such factor is the view of women being a commodity – which is pervasive in popular manifestations of culture in India.

  • - A quarter of the total number of prostitutes is minors, in over 1,000 red-light districts all over India.

  • - Every day, about 200 girls and women in India enter prostitution, 80% of them against their will (CEDPA and PRIDE, 1997).

  • - A survey by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development reveals that 4.9 % of the prostitutes in Kolkata born within the city.

  • - Mumbai, the largest flesh market in the country has reached the figure of 1.5 lac (150 thousand) prostitutes. Mumbai’s major red-light areas count up to 75,000 prostitutes, out of which almost 50% carry the HIV infection.

  • - According to a 1994 report in Asian Age, there are at least 70,000 women sex workers in Delhi, Madras, Kolkata, Bangalore, and Hyderabad. 30% of these women are under 20 years of age. 40% are 20-30 years of age, and approximately 15% of them became prostitutes as children under the age of 12.

  • - About 7,000 sex workers cross over from Nepal into India every year. 66% of the girls are from families where the annual income is about Rs 5000. They may be sold by their parents, deceived with promises of marriage or a lucrative job or kidnapped and sold to brothel owners. Between 40 – 50% are believed to be under 18, the age of consent in India, some are as young as 9 or 10 years old.

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  • - The most basic law regarding the sex workers’ status The Immoral Traffic (Suppression) Act was passed in 1956.
  • - It is also referred to as SITA. This law states that prostitutes are allowed to ply their trade in private but they cannot carry out their business in the open.
  • - An article published in the BBC states that prostitution is illegal in India. Indian laws, however, do not regard sex in exchange for money as prostitution.
  • - As per laws, clients can be arrested if they indulge in any sexual activity in public.
  • - Sex workers are not within the ambit of normal labor laws. However, they have all the rights that would be enjoyed by a citizen and are entitled to be rescued and rehabilitated if they want to do so.
  • - The law which deals with human trafficking is the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA), 1986 which is supported by Section 370-373 of IPC which criminalize practices around sex work.
  • - It is extremely unfortunate that ITPA is the only anti-trafficking legislation in India. More unfortunate is the Act’s interpretation of prostitution-related activities as trafficking.
  • - This is not in accordance with international policies and guidelines, including the Palermo Protocol of 2001, to which India is a signatory.