Human trafficking

According to the United States Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2011, India is a destination country for women trafficked from Nepal and Bangladesh for sexual exploitation and a transit country for men and women trafficked to Western Asia for forced, bonded labour5 and sexual exploitation.

Internal trafficking has become a more prominent issue in the country. Increasing incidences of trafficking have been observed in places affected by natural disasters such as drought (United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants 2009).

MOIA is working on developing a comprehensive law strictly related to overseas migration and combating cross-border human trafficking. Each state government in India also has legislative power and policies in place for combating trafficking in persons, however, policy status and implementation varies from state to state (UNODC 2009). Similar to other South Asian countries, India is party to the SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution, however, the Convention is limited to trafficking in women and children for prostitution, and does not address trafficking of men, or trafficking for purposes of labour exploitation. The Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA) is the primary legislation in the country dealing with human trafficking. In recent years, between 5,000 and 7,000 persons have been prosecuted annually for offences related to trafficking in persons under ITPA (UNODC 2009).

Under various programmes, the Government provides different types of services for victims of trafficking, such as legal protection, medical and psycho-social support, shelter, education, skills training and rehabilitation assistance.


5 Bonded labour is a form of contemporary slavery in which a person pledges themselves against a loan. The services required to repay the debt, and the services’ duration may be undefined.