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Sex workers 'participating with consent' should not face police action: SC panel

It is believed that a majority of sex workers in India are forced into the trade by poverty.


Sex workers 'participating with consent' should not face police action: SC panel
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New Delhi: A panel instituted by the Supreme Court to protect the rights of sex workers and ensure better working conditions for them has said that prostitutes “participating with consent” should not face criminal action or police interference.

The panel was set up in 2011 and is expected to submit its report next month.

While India has not made prostitution illegal, yet existing laws make sex workers vulnerable to police action.

“Whenever there is a raid on a brothel, since voluntary sex work is not illegal and only running the brothel is unlawful, the sex workers should not be arrested or penalised or harassed or victimised,” says the panel, as per a report in the Hindustan Times.

Stating that law enforcement agencies misuse Section 8 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA), 1956, the panel recommends deleting the offence of “soliciting” under the provision.

As per law, sex workers cannot solicit or seduce and the same is punishable with six months' jail and a fine of Rs 500.

The English daily reported that the panel, headed by senior advocate Pradip Ghosh, is also expected to come up with measures to rehabilitate sex workers who wish to leave prostitution in order to help them live with dignity.

It is believed that a majority of sex workers in India are forced into the trade by poverty.

As per estimates, there are 1.2 million prostitutes in the country.

According to the panel, women in sex trade enjoy an equal right to protection.

“When a sex worker makes a complaint of criminal/ sexual/ any other type of offence, police must take it seriously and act in accordance with law,” it recommends.

The panel also suggests amending the law which has a provision of jail upto 10 years for persons above 18 living on the earnings of prostitution.

From Zee News

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