Human Trafficking in India

The illegal transport of human beings for commercial sex, forced labor, domestic services, manual labor, begging, etc. is known as human trafficking. In earlier times, people sold their women or children to protect themselves from debts or just for the sake of some amount of money. In today’s world, still people sold their women and children in some backward areas. Only women and children are not victims of human trafficking but men as well. Women are mostly trafficked for commercial sex and domestic services and children for begging and child labour.

What is Human Trafficking?

Trafficking refers to unlawful commercial transactions. Human trafficking is the practice of human trading with other people. Humans are trafficked for the purposes of forced marriage, forced labor, domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation, and organ or tissue harvesting. Human trafficking is the third-largest organized crime in the world, behind the trafficking of drugs and the trade in weapons.

The major purpose of human trafficking worldwide is sexual exploitation, and women and children are the most common victims of it. There are many reasons why people are trafficked, but unhappily, the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA), which was passed in our nation, only combats human trafficking when it is carried out with the intention of sexual exploitation.

Types of Human Trafficking

There are so many kinds of the human trafficking but mainly it can be divided into four categories −

Forced labor

people are trafficked to other countries with the promises of good jobs but after reaching their passports have been taken away from them and they are forced to work with low wages and more working hours.

Debt bondage

this type of trafficking is common in people belonging to poor families, they took heavy loans, and when they fail to repay their lenders forced them to work until their debt is clear.

Sex trafficking

women and children are also the victims of this type of trafficking. They are transported to different countries where they are used for commercial sex.

Organ trafficking

it is also a type of human trafficking where people sold the body organs for the sake of money.


The main reason for the human trafficking is poverty and lack of education. Due to poverty, people take loans, and when they fail to repay they are forced to do debt bondage for the recovery of the debt, or people sell their children or females for the money. Lack of education is also a major cause because they are unaware of their rights, and it is easy to exploit them.

Children who run away from their homes for any reason and are caught by child smugglers become a victim of human trafficking, they use them for begging and also sold their body parts. The young girls caught in the trap of love and elope from home, are sold by their lovers for prostitution, they are the biggest victim of sex trafficking.

As per the report published by the National Crime Report Bureau of 2019, a total of 6616 people were trafficked in India of which 2914 were below the age of eighteen years and 3702 were adults including both men and women.

  • According to a survey in 2020 more than 900 cases of human trafficking have been reported across the India with over 150 cases only in Maharashtra.

Online Trafficking

During the pandemic, the trafficking moves to the online platform. Adults and children everyone was trying to find some source of income, to earn a little money through work from home. And women were concerned for their hair and skincare. People were trafficked with fake job opportunities and women with spurious parlors and spas.

  • According to a report, in 2020 and 2021, 200 cases of trafficking were taken into effect in the guise of spas and parlors.

Other than the pandemic, folks are trafficked on normal days. The prime platform for online trafficking is social media. The actual reason for online trafficking might be that people on social media want to create a community with new individuals without knowing to whom they are going to connect.

Laws for Human Trafficking

India has many laws for human trafficking in the constitution. Article 23 of the Constitution of India prohibits the human trafficking and forced labor. Article 24 of the Constitution of India prohibits the employment of children below the age of fourteen in any hazardous place.

Trafficking and its punishments are described under Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Apart from these India have many acts for the protection from trafficking which are the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 the offender shall be punished with a maximum of two years of punishment or a fine of two thousand rupees on first conviction and with rigorous imprisonment of maximum five years with fine on subsequent conviction.

  • The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 whoever enforces bonded labor shall be punished with three years of imprisonment or with a fine of two thousand rupees.

  • The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 provides the punishment which may extend to two years or a fine of a maximum of fifty thousand rupees or both. Seven years’ imprisonment will be awarded by the

  • Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO).

  • Juvenile Justice Act, 2005 provides punishment for the trafficking of children.


Not only India, but the whole world is suffering from the human trafficking in so many ways, but such most common ways are also sex trafficking, bonded labor, debt bondage, and organ trafficking and in the modern world it increases one new form of the human trafficking which is online trafficking.

We usually say that women and children are the victims of human trafficking however the reality is completely different; the men are also victims of human trafficking in large numbers. India has several laws to prevent the human trafficking but still, the data on victims is high.


Q1. What is the most common human trafficking in India?

Ans. India's biggest human trafficking issue is internal forced labor; traffickers utilize debt-based coercion (bonded labor) to force adults and children to work in industries like agriculture, brick kilns, rice mills, embroidery and textile factories, and stone quarries.

Q2. Which city in India has most trafficking?

Ans. Goa has the highest rate of human trafficking cases per lakh population, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report for 2021 revealed.

Q3. Why is trafficking so bad in India?

Ans. In India, trafficking of men, women, and children occurs for a variety of causes. For the sake of forced marriage and commercial sexual exploitation, women and girls are trafficked within the nation, particularly in locations where the gender ratio is heavily skewed in favor of men.

Q4. What is the main cause of child trafficking in India?

Ans. Sometimes, families who are struggling financially are forced to abandon or "sell" their kids, putting them in the care of human traffickers. In India, localities affected by natural calamities are particularly vulnerable to child trafficking. Families are more susceptible to traffickers when they are illiterate and lack knowledge.

Updated on: 11-Apr-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started