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
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
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
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
"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