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Curb Sex Tourism, SC Tells Centre

PTI 15 Jan 2010, 20:04:21 IST

The Supreme Court on Friday  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 probems 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 menance 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 menance of child prostitution and "sex tourism."  "The problem is of great magnititude. 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. Seventy percent 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. PTI