Prostitute and Right to Trade
“If you disrespect prostitutes, you disrespect all women”
Sex workers are secured in countries where their trade is legal than in ones where it is criminalized. Let’s be frank, the sex trade has managed to survive a long history of restriction. It’s time to get realistic about sex work and let’s bring the market to the surface and protects the people involved. Sex workers also are citizenry and hence they‘re entitled to a lifetime of dignity. How can one be expected to live a life of dignity if they are regularly criticized and judged by the society. Thus, a legal system needs to be adopted which can regulate their services and the economic system they are involved in.
Prostitution intrinsically isn’t illegal but sex workers are often harassed within the absence of proper provisions concerning them. To ensure effective implementation of rehabilitation and other schemes, the Supreme Court directed the Center and State governments to undertake surveys to determine what percentage sex workers wanted rehabilitation and submit reports to the panel constituted by it. It is estimated that there are over 3 million female commercial sex workers in India.
Though prostitution isn’t illegal, the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 makes certain acts concerning prostitution an offence. The absence of proper provisions for regulating the profession, however, often paves the way for harassment of sex workers by the police.
Prostitution – All Around Globe
The best (and most obvious) example of this is the Netherlands, who take an excellent approach to prostitution. There, sex workers operate in an environment of security cameras, police patrols, and other safety measures. What’s more, is that worker having access to healthcare and STD checks. In bringing the market to the surface, Netherlands has done an incredible job of protecting the well-being of sex workers and their customers. Authorizing and controlling the profession will guarantee that Prostitution would exist only in certain government regulated zones, and sex workers would have to have appropriate licenses to work.
This would thus bring the names of these workers in the administration records and which would enable them to have access to special healthcare or welfare programs. To be clear our policy is not about protecting “pimps” believe that those who exploit or abuse sex workers must be criminalized. But the truth is laws which criminalize ‘brothel-keeping’ and ‘promotion’ often cause sex workers being arrested and prosecuted themselves. What we wish is a refocusing of laws to tackle acts of exploitation, abuse and trafficking – instead of catch-all offences that only criminalize and endanger sex workers.
Such regulation would also help in reducing the occurrence of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) such as AIDS and so forth, which are mainly passed on due to the lack of proper preventive measures in such cases. Legalizing prostitution in India would mean that every worker would have the right to demand minimum wages or a proper salary for their work. Apart from the workers themselves, the legalization of prostitution in India would also benefit the country financially.
In India, prostitution is approximately an $8.4 billion industry. Legalizing it and taxing the proceeds like all other business will provide an incentive for the govt. Since prostitution already exists in large amounts despite the laws criminalizing the same, it would be more efficient to make it legal and regulate the profession instead.
Recent Cases of Prostitution in India
A group of prostitutes in Allahabad plus the Dancing Girls Union came out in support of it. There was a flurry of comparable petitions in courts by prostitutes in Delhi, Punjab and Bombay. Begum Kalawat, a prostitute living in Bombay state who was evicted from a town after complaints that she was plying her trade in near faculty, visited the high court, arguing that this violated her right to equality, and freedom of trade and movement. The new law had made the prostitutes highly anxious regarding their future.
They collected money from customers and native businessmen to fight for the law in the justice delivery system i.e. courts. Some 75 women, claiming to be members of a knowledgeable singers and professional dancers association, staged an illustration outside parliament within the capital of country, Delhi. They told the MPs that a crackdown on their profession would cause its spread to respectable areas. Some 450 singers, dancing girls and women of “ill fame” even formed a union to fight the new law.
A group of dancing girls in Allahabad announced it would hold demonstrations in protest against the law because it was a “clear encroachment on the right to carry on any profession guaranteed by the constitution”. Prostitutes in Calcutta’s bustling city district threatened to go on a hunger strike if the govt. didn’t provide the 13,000 sex workers in the neighbourhood with an alternate means of livelihood.
The police and therefore the government expressed their concern over Husna Bai’s petition. Not surprisingly, it met with the stiffest resistance from women MPs and social workers who had been leading the campaign for legislation against human trafficking.
Article 21 Reference
At last, I would say that the right to life is the fundamental right of every citizen of India. And fundamental rights cannot be violated by anyone. If anyone’s fundamental right gets violated by any public official or government official then that person can file a petition within the Supreme Court. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution is going from the past period from the time of the Magna Carta period. Firstly our Indian Constitution is under Magna Carta.
That time Judiciary has a limited role in the Constitution. But in today’s time, the Judiciary has an important role in our Indian Constitution. The law is implemented by the Indian Judiciary which is mentioned in the Indian Constitution. The Constitution of India makes every person equal who is a citizen of India. All are eligible for each right which is provided by the constitution of India. No person shall be discriminated against supported caste, creed, reputation, religion, etc. Protection of rights is the fundamental duty of the Government of India.
Hence you can’t enter this debate without recognizing that it is often women and men who survive on the outskirts of society who are forced into sex work. It may be their only way to earn a living. Decriminalizing their work doesn’t mean condoning a world which leads them onto the streets. We would like them to enjoy all of their human rights and we will continue to fight for a world where that is possible.
The recognition and regulation of sex work is by no means its glorification or promotion as implied by those opposing amendment within the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956. That of all the persons arrested as accused under different provisions of the ITP Act, nearly 85-95% are women shows that the law is anti-women.
Author: Umang Bhatla,
Delhi Metropolitan Education affiliated to GGSIPU, 3rd Yr.