What does the exploitation of prostitution mean? Why is prostitution considered a crime? Before we delve into answering these questions, it is important to understand the practice of prostitution and the reasons behind it.
Prostitution refers to engaging in relatively indiscriminate sexual activity, in exchange for immediate payment of money or other valuables. A person who works in this field is called a prostitute and is a type of sex trafficking. Despite the sexual drive, the main reason behind prostitution is money. The sex workers earn their livelihoods by working as prostitutes in brothels. The money earned is used to pay for their food, housing, and to feed their children. Some even use it to pay for their drug abuse.
Prostitution in India is legal. Sex trafficking in India is Governed by the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956. Although sex trafficking is not illegal, however activities that support sex work such as, child prostitution, owning or managing a brothel or solicitation customers are punishable crimes. There are, however, many brothels operating in cities such as Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.
Although current estimates of the total number of prostitutes in India is not available, a 2016 report submitted by UNAIDS, reported that there are 657,829 prostitutes in India, with 35.4% of the workers working are under the age of 18 years.
India’s largest red-light districts are in Sonagachi in Kolkata, Sonapur in Mumbai, Kabadi Bazar in Meerut, that host thousands of sex workers.
Laws and Rights of prostitution in India:
The profession of prostitution has several limitations and restrictions. The laws based on prostitution are complex to interpret. The act which places restrictions on the profession is The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (TITA). Under this act, several activities related to prostitution such as running brothels, trafficking, pimping and soliciting are considered punishable offences. Different sections of the act place different restrictions on prostitution. Besides this act, the Indian Penal Code has various sections which all deal with prostitution, such as sections 372 and claims child prostitution to be illegal, sections 366A, 366B and 370A consider child prostitution, importation of girls from a foreign country for sex and exploitation of trafficked person as punishable offences. Furthermore, there are certain schemes available for sex workers to access vocational education.
Prostitution as a profession is not a problem, but the crimes(sex trafficking) that the sex workers end up being the victims of is.
Prostitutes and their family members have all the rights that any citizen of India does, however, their voices are often left unheard. Moreover, a lot of victims of sex trafficking are not aware of the rights and laws which protect them. And thus, the necessary thing to do is spread awareness about these laws and rights especially among the people who are a part of the concerned profession, this would help the victims of sex trafficking to live a safer life.
Apne Aap Worldwide Founder, Ruchira Gupta
It’s past time for us to investigate this burgeoning problem. Each person can help this cause by being watchful in our neighbourhoods and reporting suspicious actions to authorities via hotline numbers. To improve society, various groups in our country are working on this issue. One of them is ‘Apne Aap.’
Apne Aap is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that works to alleviate poverty in India. Each topic is given a venue, allowing marginalized women and girls to share their stories and raise their voices against the daily cycles of abuse and prejudice they encounter.
Apne Aap Women Worldwide is an Indian activist organization that supports underprivileged girls and women to fight sex trafficking and put an end to it. They form small groups of poor girls and women for self-empowerment, and they work together to acquire legal, social, economic, and political rights. They’ve established 150 Self-Empowerment Groups in brothels, red-light districts, slums, and villages (SEGs).
Apne Aap refers to a “Third Way” to address prostitution and sex trafficking. They conclude that being a prostitute or having to engage in similar ancillary activities like solicitation is not
punishable under the law. As a result, they’re attempting to decriminalize the prostitution of girls and women. Anyone who pays for sex is also to be prosecuted, according to the bill.
We should now feel obligated to take necessary steps to prevent human trafficking in our everyday lives. Without a question, we live in a world that specializes in breaking individuals every day. Human trafficking is no longer a problem that can be solved by a few dedicated individuals or groups. Anyone may help to lessen the punishment.