Prostitution has always been a very controversial and highly debated topic. Though it’s been one of the oldest and most historic professions, it is often looked down upon.
In the current time and era, prostitution has become a dicey act; with some countries agreeing to it’s terms of work and others banning and criminalizing fixed aspects within it. India is no stranger to prostitution with activities going back to the Mughal Era. In other places of India it is almost culture for women to get into prostitution
For Example: The Devdasis from Karnataka are basically young girls married off to Goddess Yellamma at a young age and then forced into prostitution for the rest of their lives. In case of Bachara tribe in Madhya Pradesh the eldest daughter in the family is forced to become a prostitute.
Most Indians are unaware that prostitution is infact LEGAL in India and has been so for decades. However, specific acts that are often associated with prostitution are illegal and can be criminalized if found guilty, these include:
• Soliciting such services at public places
• Carrying out such activities in hotels
• Kerb crawling
• Being an owner of a brothel or even running one
But, when you remove these activities and make them illegal, does it mean prostitution is illegal too?
There have been a couple laws that help us in clarity with regard to what exactly is allowed in India and how safe is it, but nothing is etched in stone and leads to various grey areas.
One of the most basic of these laws is the Immoral Traffic Suppression Act which was passed in 1956 which is also referred to as SITA. This law states that prostitutes are allowed to ply their trade in private but they cannot carry out their business in the open.
It also states that clients can be arrested if they indulge in any sexual activity in public. A woman who performs such acts cannot do it in within 200 yards of a public place – these include places of worship, hotels, educational institutions as well as hospitals. Failure to do so can lead to imprisonment for a maximum of 3 months which can also include hefty fines.
SITA has recently been changed to become PITA or The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act. Under this law, the blame game falls harder on prostitute than that of the client.
DID YOU KNOW?
This is a law stating that you can arrest a prostitute for soliciting your services or seducing others. This includes a call girl who cannot make her phone number public and will stay in jail for a maximum of 6 months with the inclusion of fines.
Pimps, as well as similar people who survive from the income of a prostitute, are guilty as well. If an adult man is living with a prostitute, he is guilty and if innocence is not on his card, he will face imprisonment up to 4 years.
An individual who will run a business such as a brothel-keeper and maybe is a landlord is liable to prosecution and legal imprisonment will go up to 3 years.
In case, they forcibly keep someone in their brothel for prostitution purposes, it is jail for a minimum of 7 years.
Multiple tries are on the path of execution to change these laws in favor of the prostitutes than the clients. The Union Health Ministry, however, has opposed such developments.
These days, insurance companies are coming forward and ensuring sex workers.
Is prostitution entirely legalized in India?
There are almost over 3 million prostitutes in India. There are several women who get in the business because they are in need of money.
Legalizing prostitution will only improve the workspace for the women who willingly take up such professions. They will be in safer work conditions, removing them from alleyways and bringing them into cities.
Is it fair that a woman you are discriminating has to hide away from police, the law, and society? They can live more freely and independently without wandering eyes.
With a safer environment comes safer sex. This immediately lowers the numbers of people affected with HIV – AIDS and various other sexually transmitted diseases and increased usage of condoms.
In the last few years, this industry has witnessed tremendous growth with most of the new entrants’ from rural areas with little or no education. For some of them, casual labor with little payment is the way to go, while for others sex, with higher pay, is a much better choice.
Let us intrigue you with the story of a sex worker as well. Story of a sex worker from Asia’s second largest red-light district
Nevertheless, there are plenty of people who are becoming a part of the business. Legalizing prostitution would cause more demands which could and would inevitably lead to more illegal trafficking of women.
Want to know what the people of India have to say? Watch the video below to know some more!