LEGALITY OF PROSTITUTION IN INDIA

Since ages together even Vedas have mentioned about the work and conditions of workers that provide services that satisfy a man’s lust in the form of carnal desire.  Kamasutra is one of those scriptures which actually provide recognition of the role of prostitutes. However, many Hindus consider the Kamasutra as an “obscene book”, and some even go as far as denying its uprightness as a Vedic scripture.

In fact, the Kamasutra currently available was amassed by Vatsyayana Rishi on the teachings of Nandikesvara, the same cohort of Shiva Mahadeva who also educated the Natya shastras. However, with the period of time mentality of the people have differed from each other in variety of ways. While some people consider that such workers should also be granted with equal rights in terms of dignity and their profession be legalized. However, some contend that their work is illegitimate and should in any consequence be not recognized. They also have the requisite right to practice their profession freely as imbibed under Article 14 of our Indian Constitution. We also fail to recognize the fact that even males are involved in this profession. However, the worst affected remains the women.

Even after being a party to so many international conventions on the rights of women and also has a constitution in place which prohibits discernment and abuse on the basis of gender, it has failed miserably to protect rights of women specifically those of sex workers.

The issue not being legalized in many parts of world, and is as such; of transnational in nature has created a complex web of crimes and illegitimate activities which are wholly dependent on each other. With India being one of those countries not giving proper mechanism for the redressal of grievances posed in the lives of sex workers such as harassment, torture, inhumane conditions of living, forced and incomplete abortions and inadequate wage, no proper channel for HIV testing and most importantly the ‘social stigma’ the workers and their family have to face while carrying about their daily errands.

It is legal in India as under section 377 of Criminal Procedure Code. However, no of related activities such as pimping in public, kerb crawling, owning or managing a brothel, prostitution in a hotel and pandering are rendered as crimes! Then how are we supposed to really bring about the pre-requisite change. Right to freely practice one’s profession as inscribed as “Right to freedom” under Article 22 is being violated indiscriminately here in this case.

Many parts of the country even after being developed and so much progress economically and politically still fail to acknowledge the prevailing mistreatment of sex workers in their areas. For instance Mumbai has witnessed a sharp increase in police crackdowns and higher rents are driving the commercial sex industry out of traditional red-light areas and underground, with calls on Friday from social workers to not put the lives of the sex workers at a danger.

Now, the profession has become lesser institutionalized and, lesser recognized and is much more dishonest and subtle now.

In recent times, even foreigners have started to carry out their prostitution businesses in India. However, unfortunately, they are being curbed by the Indian Authorities to actually do so. In 2015 ten Thai women were arrested in India on prostitution charges for allegedly running two brothels masquerading as massage parlors.

Even though women have been earning their due places in their respective professions but this one seems to lack behind and is even discouraged by the government, society and their families at large. This social evil is not only prevailing in India but also in the world at large.

Many international institutions like Amnesty International have been making their voices heard, and are also developing consultation to develop a policy to protect human rights of the sex workers. But the point of discussion remains as to, “How we can make this profession socially acceptable?

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