In the language of trafficking, India constitutes a country of origin, transit and destination for trafficked persons. In 1996, a report published by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Asia Pacific, reported that there were 2.3 million women in prostitution in India, a quarter of whom were minors, in over 1,000 red-light districts all over the country. Recent trends disclose the alarming fact that the age of entry into sexual slavery is rapidly decreasing, against the backdrop of steadily rising numbers of both women and children being inducted into commercial sexual exploitation.
‘ Trafficking is the illicit and clandestine movements of persons across national borders, largely from developing countries, and some countries with economies in transition, with the end goal of forcing women and girls into sexually or economically oppressive and exploitative situations for profit of recruiters, traffickers, crime syndicates and other activities (e.g. forced domestic labour, false marriages, clandestine employment, and false adoption).’ - United Nation's General Assembly, 1994.
Trafficking is the recruitment and transportation of a person, within and across national borders, by means of deceit, violence or threat of violence, abuse of authority or dominant position for work or services which may result in forced labour or slavery like practices. Victims of trafficking are exploited and tortured for the financial gains of their exploiters.
An estimated 5 lacs of women and children are trafficked every year with an annual increase of 10% of which 20 – 30 % are below 13 years of age.
Children are mainly trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, begging, child labour or for adoption purposes. Trafficking takes place either from state to state or through international borders. In most of the trafficking cases that are tried in court, the children are rescued after they have been trafficked to some place.