Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others
The United Nations General Assembly approved the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others on December 2, 1949.
Convention entered into force on July 25, 1951. It has 25 signatories –
including India – and 82 countries have ratified
or acceded to it. (Signatories are qualified to ratify, accept or approve a
treaty. Ratification is an 'international act' whereby a State indicates its
consent to be bound to a treaty.)
Preamble states that “…prostitution and the accompanying evil of the traffic in persons
for the purpose of prostitution are incompatible with the dignity and worth of
the human person and endanger the welfare of the individual, the family and the
2,667-word Convention is divided into 28 articles. Articles 1-3 cover identifying
and curbing practices relating to trafficking for the purpose of ‘prostitution’.
Articles 4-12 discuss the jurisdiction of Parties to the Convention under
international and domestic laws. Articles 13-15 cover protocols to be followed
during direct or indirect communication between countries, and discuss the establishment
of a service to coordinate the investigation of offences under the Convention. Articles
16-20 lay down the duties of the Parties to rehabilitate “victims of prostitution”
– including procedures for repatriating victims of trafficking to their countries
of origin. Articles 21-28 discuss the process by which the Convention can be ratified
The following are excerpts from 12 of the 28 Articles that remain
especially relevant to the present times:
Article 1: The Parties to the present Convention agree to punish any person who, to gratify the passions of another: procures, entices or leads away, for purposes of prostitution, another person, even with the consent of that person; exploits the prostitution of another person, even with the consent of that person.
Article 2: The Parties to the present Convention further agree to punish any person who: keeps or manages, or knowingly finances or takes part in the financing of a brothel; knowingly lets or rents a building or other place or any part thereof for the purpose of the prostitution of others.
Article 5: In cases where injured persons are entitled under domestic law to be parties to proceedings in respect of any of the offences referred to in the present Convention, aliens shall be so entitled upon the same terms as nationals.
Article 7: Previous convictions pronounced in foreign States for offences referred to in the present Convention shall, to the extent permitted by domestic law, be taken into account for the purposes of: establishing recidivism; disqualifying the offender from the exercise of civil rights.
Article 12: The present Convention does not affect the principle that the offences to which it refers shall in each State be defined, prosecuted and punished in conformity with its domestic law.
Article 14: Each Party to the present Convention shall establish or maintain a service charged with the coordination and centralization of the results of the investigation of offences referred to in the present Convention. Such services should compile all information calculated to facilitate the prevention and punishment of the offences referred to in the present Convention and should be in close contact with the corresponding services in other States.
Article 15: To the extent permitted by domestic law and to the extent to which the authorities responsible for the services referred to in article 14 may judge desirable, they shall furnish to the authorities responsible for the corresponding services in other States the following information: particulars of any offence referred to in the present Convention or any attempt to commit such offence; particulars of any search for any prosecution, arrest, conviction, refusal of admission or expulsion of persons guilty of any of the offences referred to in the present Convention, the movements of such persons and any other useful information with regard to them. The information so furnished shall include descriptions of the offenders, their fingerprints, photographs, methods of operation, police records and records of conviction.
Article 17: The Parties to the present Convention undertake, in connection with immigration and emigration, to adopt or maintain such measures as are required, in terms of their obligations under the present Convention, to check the traffic in persons of either sex for the purpose of prostitution.
Article 18: The Parties to the present Convention undertake, in accordance with the conditions laid down by domestic law, to have declarations taken from aliens who are prostitutes, in order to establish their identity and civil status and to discover who has caused them to leave their State. The information obtained shall be communicated to the authorities of the State of origin of the said persons with a view to their eventual repatriation.
Article 19: The Parties to the present Convention undertake, in accordance with the conditions laid down by domestic law and without prejudice to prosecution or other action for violations thereunder and so far as possible: pending the completion of arrangements for the repatriation of destitute victims of international traffic in persons for the purpose of prostitution, to make suitable provisions for their temporary care and maintenance.
Article 20: The Parties to the present Convention shall, if they have not already done so, take the necessary measures for the supervision of employment agencies in order to prevent persons seeking employment, in particular women and children, from being exposed to the danger of prostitution.
Article 22: If any dispute shall arise between the Parties to the present Convention relating to its interpretation or application and if such dispute cannot be settled by other means, the dispute shall, at the request of any one of the Parties to the dispute, be referred to the International Court of Justice.
Focus by Akanksha Reddy.
02 Dec, 1949