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Customers visiting brothels to be prosecuted
September 14, 2007 01:50 IST
The Centre has told the Supreme Court that it proposed to amend the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act to treat women and children rescued from prostitution rings as victims and customers visiting brothels as criminals.
The proposed amendment seeks to impose imprisonment ranging from three to six months on customers visiting brothels for sexual exploitation of women.
The move to amend the Act assumes significance as under the existing provisions, it is the women who are prosecuted and the men visiting the brothels are left free as there are no provisions under which they could also be prosecuted.
The present amendment reverses the provision by making the men accountable and the women being treated only as exploited victims.
Besides, the amendments, which are awaiting approval of the cabinet, seek to impose punishment ranging from seven years to life imprisonment for those indulging in trafficking of women and children for the purpose of brothels and other such immoral activities.
The Centre made the submission in the form of an affidavit filed on behalf of the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare.
The affidavit was filed in response to a PIL by an NGO Prajwala which had sought stringent measures against those indulging in trafficking of women and children for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
According to the proposed amendment, whoever, recruits, transports, harbours or receives a person for the purpose of prostitution by means of threat, power or inducements is deemed to have committed the offence of trafficking in persons.
Such persons indulging in trafficking (women) "shall be punishable on first conviction with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years; and in the event of a second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment for life.
Any person who attempts to commit, or abet trafficking in persons shall also be deemed to have committed such trafficking in persons and shall be punishable with the same punishment, the affidavit added.