Fearing that India might emerge as the "hub of child sex abuse", the Supreme Court on Friday asked the government to deal sternly with criminals and recommended a separate police wing to deal with child trafficking.
"India is now becoming a hub of child sex abuse," observed a bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and AK Patnaik.
The court was hearing a 2006 lawsuit by civil society group Bachpan Bachao Andolan that sought implementation of the various provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, and other legislations for the welfare of children and sex workers.
"The most serious problem is the use of children for sex trade. While this crime is growing, hardly any case is registered. If a case is registered, it will have a deterrent effect," the bench observed, while asking Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium to seek the government's clear stand and roadmap for fighting the malady.
"Apart from the criminals being prosecuted, it will have a deterrent effect, which will make a lot of difference," the bench observed.
Asking the government to deal sternly with those using children in sex trade, the bench advised it to have a separate police wing to probe the matter.
"The government needs to understand clearly that child trafficking is the priority area. There are several aspects. There should be a special investigative agency to deal with trafficking and plug the loopholes," the bench said.
Listing out some of the problematic aspects in child and women trafficking, the bench said: "The problem area for inter-state trafficking is Nepal, North East, Bangladesh border. There should be a special agency to deal with it, where the present police is virtually ineffective."
The bench also advised the government to seek the help of NGOs in tackling the problem of child and women trafficking.
"You should involve NGOs also that will help you (the government)."
Lamenting the plight of sex workers, the bench said: "See the condition of sex workers, whenever the police conducts raid, only they are arrested and traffickers get away scot free and no legal aid is available to them."
The bench also expressed concern over sex workers being forced to continue with their profession despite being HIV positive and spreading the deadly disease in the process.
"Most of the sex workers are HIV positive and are continuing with their profession. They will only multiply disease. Steps must be taken to curb this," the bench said.