In 1950 the Government of India ratified the International Convention for the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of others. In 1956 India passed the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956 (SITA). The act was further amended and changed in 1986, resulting in the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act also know as PITA. PITA only discusses trafficking in relation to prostitution and not in relation to other purposes of trafficking such as domestic work, child labour, organ harvesting, etc. The following is an outline of the provisions in this law that pertains to children below the age of 18.
The act defines child as any person who has completed eighteen years of age. The first section of the act has provisions that outline the illegality of prostitution and the punishment for owning a brothel or a similar establishment, or for living of earnings of prostitution as is in the case of a pimp. Section five of the act states that if a person procures, induces or takes a child for the purpose of prostitution then the prison sentence is a minimum of seven years but can be extended to life. To ensure that the people in the chain of trafficking are also held responsible the act has a provision that states that any person involved in the recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring, or receiving of persons for the purpose of prostitution if guilty of trafficking. In addition any person attempting to commit trafficking or found in the brothel or visiting the brothel is punishable under this law.
If a person if found with a child it is assumed that he has detained that child there for the purpose of sexual intercourse and hence shall be punishable to seven year in prison up to life imprisonment, or a term which may extend to ten year and also a maximum fine of one lakh rupees. If a child is found in a brothel and after medical examination has been found to have been sexually abused, it is assumed that the child has been detained for the purpose of prostitution.
Any person committing prostitution in public with a child shall be punishable to seven year in prison up to life imprisonment, or a term which may extend to ten year and also a maximum fine of one lakh rupees. If prostitution of a child is being committed with knowledge of an establishment owner such as a hotel the license of the hotel is likely to be cancelled along with the given prison sentence and/or fines.
Any child found in a brothel or being abused for the purpose of prostitution can be placed in an institution for their safety by a magistrate. Landlords, leasers, owner, agent of the owner who unknowingly previously rented their property to a person found guilty of prostituting a child, must get approval from a magistrate before re-leasing their property for three years after the order is passed.
In 2006, the Ministry of Women and Child Development proposed an amendment bill that has yet to be passed. The amendment does not really concern any of the provisions related to the child but has many important consequences for the right of women sex workers.