Should courts declare prostitution legal in India?

In general, the word ‘prostitution’ refers to the situation of women which means in Latin terms ‘expose publicly’. It means for hire, sexual activity by either giving or receiving one’s body. It is common lewdness of women in exchange of some value or gain. It can be considered as a business that exploits an individual’s vulnerability, particularly the women and children and also violates the human rights completely and making them object to transaction of money by use of force and power for the purpose of sex, bondage or labour. In India, prostitution is regarded as one of the oldest profession. In Indian society, prostitution is a problem of serious concern and its solution is seemingly difficult. It is a gender specified phenomenon where mainly the victims are girls and women and the men being the perpetrators. The dispensing chance of prostitution is nil if observed practically, thus it is a still a bitter reality today. The form of existence has altered but the outlook and sight has remain unchanged. One can describe the picture of prostitutes as any sex worker or prostitute found either in remote or public place staring at the public with a smile of welcoming gesture as well as approach.

Globally, consistent stand have been taken criticizing the gross violation of human resources and has encouraged the government to take strict measures against it. It was observed that providing a mandate of legal importance would prompt a safe and better society and environment for women. A platform should be provided to access justice in case of gross violation. The prostitutes or the sex workers should be made aware of their rights, financial aids, interests, health and freedom to deny or choose to take medical check ups on regular basis and other important benefits.

As under the act, prostitution is neither punishable nor illegal. In the context of India, though the Court has marked prostitution to be unethical yet explicitly, it is not illegal. Certain acts such as managing, pimping and owning of bordello, luring or engaging an individual into prostitution, dependence on prostitution as a source of income, trafficking of children and women for the prostitution purpose, etc. are considered illegal under the Immoral Traffic (prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA). In India, a large number of bordellos are run illegally in some of the major cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.

“Every country has made the laws to regulate prostitution so it might remain within its legal limits and without unduly violating upon the institutions of the marriage and family.”

– Law Commission Report of India

The societies in which prostitution is regarded legal have inferred that regulation of the profession is best as it is impossible to be ceased. India should also acquire understanding from such societies and thus take preventive actions. Today, there are millions of prostitutes in India and a quarter of them are believed to be minors, making Child prostitution and increased HIV virus incidences as among the most gruesome issues in India.

Prostitution should be made legal considering the following facts:

  • Medical checkups on regular basis will reduce the spread of STDs- Provision of adequate tools of birth control and conduction of regular medical checkups will result in the reduction of risk of sexual transmitted diseases which would possibly be transmitted from workers to customers and vice-versa. Thus, creating a safe and healthy society.
  • Protection of minors- Today a great number of minors are involved in prostitution. Therefore, by legalizing, the minors can be removed from this profession and their rights can be preserved safely.
  • Removal of middlemen and pimps- The legalization would reduce the criminal conduct and the sex worker’s wages would be increased as there would be no requirement of the middlemen and pimps. this would eventually lead to an upgradation in the industry system.
  • The count of sexual assaults and rapes would be reduced- Considering it as an easy alternative, the people would satisfy their sexual urge by directly resorting to the prostitutes instead of committing any heinous offence.
  • Protection of the rights of sex workers- Any sex worker could file complain and can prevail justice if denied agreed payment or ben a victim to any sexual assault.
  • Right to use body according to free will- Nobody prevails the right to put pressure on any individual to adhere a person’s standard in terms to morality.

Thus, it can be concluded that sex trade is here to stay and it can be ceased by any means, thus by recognizing it as a legitimate form of work would provide guaranteed benefits to the parties involved. The legalization of prostitution would preserve the rights of the sex works along with the job protection and also provide them a chance to live a normal life which they deserve.