Consular, Passport and Visa Division

Human Trafficking

Q: What are the constitutional & legislative provisions related to Trafficking in India?
  • Trafficking in Human Beings or Persons is prohibited under the Constitution of India under Article 23 (1)
  • The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA) is the premier legislation for prevention of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.
  • Criminal Law (amendment) Act 2013 has come into force wherein Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code has been substituted with Section 370 and 370A IPC which provide for comprehensive measures to counter the menace of human trafficking including trafficking of children for exploitation in any form including physical exploitation or any form of sexual exploitation, slavery, servitude, or the forced removal of organs.
  • Protection of Children from Sexual offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, which has come into effect from 14th November, 2012 is a special law to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation. It provides precise definitions for different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative sexual assault, sexual harassment.
  • There are other specific legislations enacted relating to trafficking in women and children Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994, apart from specific Sections in the IPC, e.g. Sections 372 and 373 deal with selling and buying of girls for the purpose of prostitution.
  • State Governments have also enacted specific legislations to deal with the issue. (e.g. The Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Act, 2012)
Q: What are the measures taken by Government of India to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking?

With a view to tackle the menace of human trafficking, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India has undertaken a number of measures such as:

Administrative measures and interventions

Anti Trafficking Cell (ATC): Anti-Trafficking Nodal Cell was set up in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) (CS Division in 2006 to act as a focal point for communicating various decisions and follow up on action taken by the State Governments to combat the crime of Human Trafficking. MHA conducts coordination meetings with the Nodal Officers of Anti Human Trafficking Units nominated in all States/UTs periodically.

Advisories: To improve the effectiveness in tackling the crime of human trafficking and to increase the responsiveness of the law enforcement machinery, MHA has issued following comprehensive advisories to all States/UTs:

  • Advisory for preventing crime of human trafficking date 9.9.2009.
  • Advisory on crime against children dated 14th July, 2010.
  • Advisory on missing children dated 31st January, 2012.
  • Advisory on Preventing and Combating cyber crime against children dated 4.1.2012.
  • Advisory on Human Trafficking as Organised Crime dated 30th April, 2012.
  • Advisory on Preventing and combating human trafficking in India-dealing with foreign nationals dated 1.5.2012.
  • SOP to handle trafficking of children for child labour dated 12.8.2013.
  • Advisory on MHA Web Portal on Anti Human Trafficking dated 5.5.2014.
  • Advisory dated 23.7.2015 for associating SSB and BSF in crime meetings.

These advisories/SOP are available on MHA's Web Portal on Anti Human Trafficking at
Ministry of Home Affairs' scheme : Ministry of Home Affairs under a Comprehensive Scheme “Strengthening law enforcement response in India against Trafficking in Persons through Training and Capacity Building, has released fund for establishment of Anti Human Trafficking Units for 270 districts of the country.

Strengthening the capacity building: To enhance the capacity building of law enforcement agencies and generate awareness among them, various Training of Trainers (TOT) workshops on “Combating Trafficking in Human Beings for Police officers and for Prosecutors at Regional level, State level and District level were held throughout the country.

Judicial Colloquium: In order to train and sensitize the trial court judicial officers, Judicial Colloquium on human trafficking are held at the High court level. The aim is to sensitize the judicial officers about the various issues concerning human trafficking and to ensure speedy court process. So far, eleven Judicial Colloquiums have been held at Chandigarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha.

Q: How has India implemented International Conventions on Trafficking?

UN Convention: India has ratified the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organised Crime (UNCTOC) which has as one of its Protocols Prevention, Suppression and Punishment of Trafficking in Persons, particularly Women and Children. Various actions have been taken to implement the convention and as per Protocol, “Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 has been enacted wherein human trafficking has specifically been defined.

SAARC Convention: India has ratified the SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution. A Regional Task Force was constituted to implement the SAARC Convention. Five meetings of Regional Task Force have been held so far. Fifth meeting was held at Paro, Bhutan from 11-12 April, 2013. As offered in Fifth Meeting, a study tour for SAARC Member countries was conducted from 18-22 November, 2013 to learn from the experiences of the Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) established in various districts of the country. Representatives of Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Afghanistan participated in the study tour.

Bilateral mechanism : For dealing with cross border trafficking and to address the various issues relating to prevention of Trafficking, victim identification and repatriation and make the process speedy and victim-friendly between India and Bangladesh, a Task Force of India and Bangladesh was constituted. So far five meetings of Task force between India and Bangladesh have been held. Fifth meeting was held on 17-18 August, 2015 at Dhaka, Bangladesh.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bangladesh on Bi-lateral Cooperation for Prevention of Human Trafficking in Women and Children, Rescue, Recovery, Repatriation and Re-integration of Victims of Trafficking was signed in June, 2015.