Prostitution – An irrational taboo
The rain destroyed the crops this season. Mala and her family were left with nothing but misery. And to add to their misery, Mala’s husband, the breadwinner of the family attempted suicide. Everything seemed to come to an end. That’s when Mala decided to take the reins and become the breadwinner of the family. She left her kids with their grandparents and moved to Kolkata in search of work. For the first few months, she made desperate attempts to get work, but she failed. Eventually, with no other option left, Mala took up the profession of a sex worker. The prospect was tempting, more money in less time. That’s what suited her present scenario. But life was not easy as it seemed. A huge share of her earning was given to the pimp who arranged her clients and in bribing the policeman, to let her do her work peacefully. She was left with the amount, with which she could support herself in the city. She had nothing to send to her family back home. Her wretched life didn’t even end her, she was generally harassed by her clients. She couldn’t report as the pimp told her once that prostitution is legal in India with a plethora of conditions. Hence, going to the police would be a bad idea. In India, prostitution (the exchange of sexual service for money) is legal only if carried out in the private residence of a prostitute or others. A number of related activities are crimes, including soliciting in public places, Kerb crawling, owning or managing a hotel, child prostitution, pimping and pandering”, Wikipedia(2017)
The locus standi of prostitution is at least very equivocal in India. It has a glut of loopholes in the law and to add to its plight, the government prefers to stay mum and ignore the situation than to summon any long-term solution to address this issue. We should cling to the fact that, In a country like India, which is infamous for being a hypocrite in the treatment of women and defamed for rising atrocities against women, molding laws on prostitution by all capacities , is a solicitous debate. Brothels and pimps are banned on paper, yet they do exist and are functioning smoothly. Despite the police being in the vicinity. The password to this lock is to present gifts and Voila, Do whatsoever you wanna do. So now the question arises,
“Should prostitution be legalized in India?”
Why not? What other retort do we have? Prostitution being world’s oldest profession cannot be wiped off from the society. We need to give up all our aggressive thoughts of removing its roots from India. Personally, I feel, this not a logical, well-framed solution. This is nothing but the repression of the issue.
This epidemic is like that audacious serpent, who raises its hood with more aggressiveness, whenever you try to suppress it. Although this opinion is unfit for a typical Indian mindset, we can’t rule out the fact that, This is the call of the hour. Removing ambiguity around this and legalizing it completely will ensure many benefits.
Prostitution is a world trapped between illegality and immorality. We need to get above these petty reasons and give it a three-dimensional approach. This hypocritical mindset will not help. The acknowledgment of profession will indeed reduce the prevalence of real illegalities. Child prostitution, human trafficking, forced prostitution, drug abuse and other crimes are some of the ugly faces of those illegalities that stick around with this. We need to curb these. There are many countries around the globe, where prostitution has been legalized. They stated that Regulation of a profession, which will never disappear is the best bet. History testifies to the fact that, No government, no matter how hard they have tried, have been efficacious. Prostitution is that concreteness, which cannot be eliminated.
The legalization of prostitution would also legalize, our war against HIV AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases (STD). India has been labeled to procure the highest cases of HIV AIDS positive patients outside Africa, and the practice of prostitution is the one to be blamed. Legalization here would work wonders. The sex workers would be asked for registration and for undergoing regular health check-ups. If the person is found to be HIV positive, the government through the help of various NGOs and schemes, would take ample steps to rehabilitate them. Legalization would play a radical role in protecting women from abuse and violence. It is widespread in India to harass the sex worker, often by clients or pimps. They don’t report to the authorities, because the profession is illegal. Decriminalization would render the prostitutes to have sex with condoms (which generally doesn’t happen). Additionally, men without the fear of getting arrested would go to brothels to vent out their sexual energy, instead of raping and molesting a family member. Furthermore, It would generate revenue for the government. The prostitutes would hence become official taxpayers. The authority would be earning from these fields, the way they earn from other legal businesses. Legalization would also prevent policemen from extorting money from sex workers, which they have to pay them in order to let them live peacefully. Legalization would give a sex worker to live with dignity in the society. They would not lead a life as second-class citizens or outcasts anymore.
According to statistics, there are over 3 million sex workers in India. There are many Mala’s who are ill-educated, rural migrants, who enter India’s labor market in huge numbers. Most of them get hold of low paid job or no job and for a minority, selling sex is a well-paid option. Priority should be ending forced prostitution, child prostitution, human trafficking, drug abuse, etc., rather than this which is impossible. In Dec 2009, The supreme court of India advocated that prostitution should be legalized. Although, nothing has been done regarding this. Often it is seen children of prostitutes don’t lead a good life. Reason being poor living conditions. They are somehow bound to take up the same trade, even if they don’t want. Legalization of the sex industry is indeed the call of the hour. We need to regulate the profession as soon as possible. By doing this we will be focusing on the larger picture of many alarming situations. The most eminent of them being spread of HIV AIDS. We need to implement practical measures to tackle this issue rather than adding spices of morality and society and making this recipe unbearable to eat. Legalization would manifest us to save sex workers from the paws of pimps, brothels, and policemen. Giving them complete freedom to carry out their profession from wherever they want. This would also save them from several atrocities that are levied upon them, as they would then report to the authorities. Sex education will be given and this will enlighten them about several venereal diseases attached to their profession.
The government should give license to the sex workers with expiry dates so that they will be constantly under the surveillance. Legalizing this would not procure any harm, but it’ll surely procure many benefits to our society. There is a very strong necessity to regulate this industry and empower it with legal safeguards. Hence, I would conclude this by Steve Martin’s words, ‘I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy.”