Prostitution In India: The Staggering Numbers And The Stagnant Legality

Posted on April 3, 2012 in Society

By Nupur Dogra:

Indian way to solve a problem:
First step: Recognize the problem
Second step: Never ending debates and deliberations.
Third step: Carve a midway solution to every possible challenge.
Fourth step: When these midway solutions turns disastrous.
Fifth Step: Turn a blind eye, problem solved.

Given above is the current scenario of prostitution in India.

Pimps are criminals, prostitutes are not.
Brothels are illegal, but prostitution is not.

According to our law, the work is legal without an office and a manager. Is it something in the Indian DNA? Or are we happy in adopting a cowardice solution to almost every challenge we face? Such is the case with prostitution in India. In India, prostitution (the exchange of sexual services for money) is legal, but a number of related activities, including soliciting in a public place, kerb crawling, owning or managing a brothel, pimping and pandering are crimes. According to the current law the prostitutes can practice their trade privately. Every law by the government seems to be an effort to push these prostitutes to the boundaries of the society. These laws admit the presence of prostitutes in the society, but under the wraps i.e. 200 yards away from the public place or notified area. My logic completely fails here to understand why this hypocritical approach towards human beings who are equally a citizen to this country? Due to this midway policy of the government the prostitutes are stuck in between.

Yes, prostitution is a social evil, but we need to have a reality check to get rid of this. While doing so we need to understand, this is an ancient concept which has existed almost always. I can’t think of a time, a place or a country where it never existed. Currently, Prostitution in India is a Rs. 40,000 crore annual business. Nobody knows what use this money is put to. This black money further leads to a vicious circle of crimes and thus leads to irreparable damages to the society and economy. According to a survey, there are approximately 10 million sex workers in India out Of which 1, 00,000 are in Mumbai alone, Asia’s largest sex industry centre. There about 300,000 to 500,000 children in sex trade in India, among which Bangalore along with five cities together account for 80 % child prostitutes in the country. This is the extent to which prostitution is prevalent in India.

Another problem in our country is that we love making laws, but we never bother to implement them properly. And when these laws are unsuccessful we think of another law or amendment to that law. One such law is PITA. Major reason for failure of PITA is the strong collusion between ministers, law enforcement agencies and brothel owners. Sex workers are not protected under normal labor laws but they possess the right to rescue and rehabilitation if they desire. The question that remains is that how many sex workers are aware of proper procedures to claim rehabilitation and how many of them actually get rehabilitated if they claim for the same.

Coming to the probable solutions to this problem, fears of meeting the same fate as Victoria in Australia and Netherlands have kept India reluctant to legalize organized prostitution. The need of the hour is to construct the laws in such a manner that positives can be imbibed and negative can be surmounted.

But the question again arises that even if the existing law is changed will they be implemented properly or will they also meet same fate as PITA? What should we actually blame this to? Law, Improper Execution, or our Ignorance??