Book rape cases in child prostitution rackets: SC to Centre
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Last Updated: Friday, January 15, 2010, 19:44
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today asked the government to take firm steps to curb "sex tourism" in the country and register cases of rape against those pushing children into prostitution racket or having sex with them.

"Obviously, it is a case of rape if the girls are less than 18 years. If you register 376 IPC (rape) cases, they (accused) will learn the lessons of their life. But the problem is you don't do it. Gigantic problems have to be dealt on a priority basis," a two-judge bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and A K Patnaik said.

The apex court gave the direction to Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam during the hearing on a PIL after counsel Aparna Bhat, appearing for certain NGOs, submitted child prostitution amounted to rape and the menace has reached alarming proportions.

Agreeing with the NGOs, the apex court said it was shocking that 70 per cent of the sex workers are children and wanted the government to come out with foolproof measures to curb the menace of child prostitution and "sex tourism."

"The problem is of great magnitude. Top priority of the government should be to stop child trafficking. Sex tourism has to be curbed. A civilised society can't have it. You have to strengthen the machinery. 70% of the sex workers are children.

"Greater emphasis has to be laid as to how you are going to plug the problem and what mechanism you have. When you come to ground realities, even the parents are not willing to accept the children due to social stigma," the apex court said.

The apex court said the problem cannot be addressed in a mechanical manner but rather through effective coordination between various government agencies and NGOs.

"We need enormous efforts because the gigantic problem cannot be solved mechanically. For that, there should be total assistance of the State's enforcement agency, NGOs and others because the problem is so widespread.

"Our real problem is implementation, which we lack. The stage of blame game is over," the bench quipped at the Solicitor General.

The apex court said it would evaluate the "broad outline" submitted by the Solicitor General on curbing the menace in pursuant of its earlier directions.

"We will also look into the judicially manageable directions that we can give so that there is enforceability.

There should be a special enforcement agency, to deal with greater credibility.

"Just taking them out of the brothel and putting them on the streets is not going to solve the problem. The efforts will bear fruits only after they are properly rehabilitated which is their right (children) under Article 21 (right to liberty), the apex court said.

The apex court made the remarks while dealing with a PIL and bunch of applications alleging rampant child prostitution rackets in the country and unbridled exploitation of child labour in the country.

The PIL filed in 2006 had among other things also highlighted the problem of children being used as trapeze artistes.


First Published: Friday, January 15, 2010, 19:44

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