Prostitution in India
India has the second largest population of sex workers in the world. An astounding 660,000 women have become part of this. Most of them are trafficked and forced into prostitution. The debate of whether pimping and brothel-keeping should be legalized is still far from ending.
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History of Prostitution in India
Prostitution is regarded as the oldest profession of all time. Sex workers in India are also referred to as’ tawaif’ or ‘devadasis’. The legal status of this rampant industry varies from one country to another. It is worth more than $100 billion globally and its history can be traced back to 4000 years to the ancient land – Babylon. It runs driven not only by the urge of physical pleasures, but its also largely driven by the psychological and economic crisis of the sex-workers. In India, it is legal to practice prostitution. But related activities such as pimping, soliciting in public places and brothels are illegal. There are over 20 Million sex workers in India, judging by the recent Human Rights Watch report. The report also asserted that most of the sex workers entered the industry when they were less than 18 years of age.
The Current Scenario
Legalization or criminalization of prostitution are two sides of a largely debated issue. While the harassment that happens in brothels all over India cannot be denied, there has been a call to improve the conditions of these brothels rather than a permanent shutdown. We stand confronted with a question,
“Whether legalizing prostitution will help the condition of these women?” and “should anybody be allowed/forced to sell themselves as commodities?”
Clearly, prostitution whether legal or illegal will inevitably will bring harm to these women who have no choice or control over their own lives.
What needs to be done?
Apart from raising awareness about this evil practice, there is also a very evident need to facilitate the rehabilitation of the victims of sex trafficking. Many have spent years being harassed and made feel less than human.
Our aspiration is to reach out to these women and give them the ray of Hope.