Dr. Avnish Jolly, 22July, 2008:Government of India set to amend the Immoral Trafficking and Prevention Act (ITPA), buying sex for cash by a man in brothel will soon be a cognizable offence with stricter jail term and heavy penalties. India has nearly 2.5 million prostitutes operating out of nearly three Lac brothels in 1,100 red light areas across the country. According to the amendment, clients will be handed a jail term of three months or penalty of Rs 20,000 or both for their first offence. The repeat offenders will invite a penalty of Rs 50,000 or a jail term of six months.
Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil has approved amendment to the Act, a bill for which was moved in the Parliament by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2006 and the amendment has a provision of jail term and heavy penalties for the clients of prostitutes who were so far kept out of the ambit of prosecution.
Khairati Lal Bhola, Member, Central Advisory Committee, Ministry of Women and Child Development shared that the GoM has already decided about the provisions of jail term and penalty. It will soon be presented to the Cabinet for approval and implementation.
Bhola also added that the amendment has defined all sex workers except those from financially well-off families as trafficked persons and asking for sexual favours in return for money has been categorised as sexual exploitation.