Prostitution/Child Trafficking in India
There are approximately 15 million prostitutes in India according to Human Rights Watch. There are more than 100,000 women prostitutes in Bombay, Asia’s largest sex industry center. Girl prostitutes in India, Pakistan and the Middle East are tortured, held in virtual imprisonment, sexually abused, and raped. Girl prostitutes are grouped as common prostitutes, singers and dancers, call girls, religious prostitutes or devdasi, and caged brothel prostitutes. The women here are in prostitution either because their husbands deserted them, or they are trafficked through coercion and deception.
Most of the women enter into prostitution involuntarily. India, along with Thailand and the Philippines, has 1.3 million children in its sex-trade centers. The children come from relatively poorer areas and are trafficked to relatively richer ones. India and Pakistan are the main destinations for children under 16, who are trafficked to south Asia. What is causing alarm both in governmental and Non Governmental Organizations circles is the escalation in trafficking of young girls, in the last decade.
In cross border trafficking, India is a sending, receiving and transit nation. Receiving children from Bangladesh and Nepal and sending women and children to Middle Eastern nations is a daily occurrence. Every year between 5,000 and 7,000 Nepalese girls are trafficked into the red light districts in Indian cities. Many of the girls are barely 9 or 10 years old. 200,000 to over 250,000 Nepalese women and girls are already in Indian brothels. The girls are sold by poor parents, tricked into fraudulent marriages, or promised employment in towns only to find themselves in prostitution.
Although prostitution is legal in India, brothel keeping, living off the earnings of a prostitute, soliciting or seducing for the purposes of prostitution are all punishable offenses. There are severe penalties for child prostitution and trafficking of women, but because of corruption at every level of law enforcement and legal agencies, laws are seldom upheld, or the culprits prosecuted.