Sex workers demand legalisation of prostitution

Last Updated: Thursday, December 24, 2009 - 21:32

New Delhi: Buoyed over Supreme Court`s
observation on legalising prostitution, a number of sex
workers and associations working for their uplift have
demanded that the world`s oldest profession be brought under
the purview of law.

Workers at the city`s prominent redlight area, Garstin
Bastion (GB) Road, feel that legalising the trade will put an
end to their problems such as exploitation by criminal
elements and help them live a better life.

Welfare groups working for their uplift are also planning
to submit a memorandum to the government in support of their
demands.

"There are lots of problems faced by sex workers. If it
is legalised, they would have proper health cards and a valid
licence. This will help them in living a humble social life.
We will soon meet the official and give them a memorandum to
inform them about our demands," Iqbal, Head of Delhi unit,
Bhartiya Patita Uddhar Sabha, an NGO working for the welfare
of sexworkers said.

India is among one of the nations where prostitution is
banned.

In its significant remarks, a Supreme Court bench
comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and A K Patnaik on
December nine had asked the Centre whether it can legalise
prostitution if it is not practically possible to curb the
world`s oldest profession with punitive measures.

"When you say it is the world`s oldest profession and
when you are not able to curb it by laws, why don`t you
legalise it? You can then monitor the trade, rehabilitate and
provide medical aid to those involved in the trade," the
bench had told Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam.

"We are often arrested by police personnel and deprive of
legal aid. Also, people consider us as criminal. Our children
have difficulty in going to school. We even face bias in
getting medical treatment and getting our rights," said Kanta,
a brothel owner.

There are about 116 brothels in which about 5,000 women
from across the country and some from neighbouring nations
work as a sexworker at the G B road.

"It will be better if government gives licence to both
the brothel owners and sexworkers. This will help us in
getting our identity," said Renu, a sex worker.

Another worker, Soumya said "we can never get back to the
civic society. People will not be able to accept us. It will
be better if government gives us licence."

The apex court has said "they (sex trade) has been
operating in one way or the other and nowhere in the world
have they been able to curb it by legislation. In some cases,
they are carried out in a sophisticated manner. So why don`t
you legalise it?".

The apex court`s remarks came while hearing a PIL filed
by an NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan and the intervention
application moved by Childline complaining about largescale
child trafficking in the country.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, December 24, 2009 - 21:32

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