There are about 2.8 million prostitutes in India out of which 36 per cent are children, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Monday.
The common factors for entry into prostitution have been economic distress, growing consumerism, illiteracy, lack of vocational skills, migration, ill-treatment by parents and desertion by spouse, according to a study on girls and women in prostitution conducted between 2002-2004 by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
The village panchayats have not been assigned any direct role in prevention of trafficking, but under a special scheme called 'Ujjwala', financial assistance is provided for formation of community vigilance groups for its prevention, Minister of State for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath said in replying to a written question.
She said as per the National Crime Records Bureau, the number of persons convicted under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act in the year 2007-08 is 2,884.
Tirath said there was no proposal to create a special police force to tackle the problem. However, nine integrated anti-human trafficking units have been established in the states of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and West Bengal under the joint project capacity building of law enforcement agencies of the Ministry of Home Affairs and United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime.
The Governments of Tamil Nadu and Bihar have set up 38 and 21 AHTUs respectively.