Catch prostitution racketeers not victims: CBI

Catch prostitution racketeers not victims: CBI

Pointing out that 90 per cent of human trafficking in the country is homegrown, CBI Director A P Singh today said agencies should concentrate on arresting the mastermind of such gangs rather than catching the prostitutes who are victims of the crime.

Speaking at the annual conference of DGPs and IGPs here today, the CBI chief was of the view that Immoral traffic Prevention Act (ITPA) deals with trafficking for prostitution and all aspects of trafficking like recruiting, harbouring, inducing, etc but it is generally perceived that this act prohibits prostitution, which is a wrong perception.

"It is because of this wrong perception that 85 per cent prosecutions under ITPA are for solicitation and this is like punishing the victim herself and pushing her further into the hands of traffickers. So, we need to catch the real guys behind such prostitution rackets instead of booking the prostitute who may be a victim," he said.

Singh said 90 per cent of human trafficking in India takes place internally even as the country itself remains one of the main origins of trafficking in the world. The CBI Director said there was an urgent need to regulate regulate activities of placement agencies.

"With urbanisation, demand for domestic helps has increased and many placement agencies have mushroomed in cities and towns which bring children, many less than even 14 years, from poor regions and sell them to needy households," the Director said.

He said CBI has come across many cases where such helps are physically and mentally abused. Later, in a presentation before the police chiefs of the states on behalf of the CBI Director, DIG Anurag Garg, who heads the anti-trafficking cell of the agency, said globally about 21 million people are trafficked for forced labour or prostitution at any given time.

He said the data means three out of every 1,000 persons is being exploited, which is quite disconcerting. "CBI has investigated quite a few cases of human trafficking.
There is absolutely no doubt that it is an organised crime which brings culprits from different parts of the country together to make money out of sufferings of victims," he said.

Garg said traffickers operate under fake names and keep changing their locations to escape detection. "Even victims are given different identities every time they are caught and these victims are sold from one person to another like a commodity to be exploited. In fact, this makes investigation quite challenging," he said.

The officer said although the role of NGOs becomes important in tackling the problem, the agencies must be cautious in building such relationships as sometimes these organisations also indulge in "dubious" activities.