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Status of Sex Worker In India

India is such a vast country where people perform several type of works to sustain there life and to earn basic livelihood. Some of these works are part organized sector where everything have some established process but at the same time there are several work which comes under unorganized sector and the individual were exploited in these sector because there was no proper follow of the laws.

Even the individual were denied there fundamental (basic) right which was important for individual to live a dignified life i.e. life with respect in society. In such a scenario where people in society hold stigma about sex workers and there works, living a dignified life is very challenging.

They have to face several difficulty to fulfill basic requirement and basic livelihood.
  • For several years there is  doubt about whether the work of prostitution comes under profession or not?
  • If there is some rights available to such worker?
  • Can there fundamental right be dissolved ?
  • What protection they hold under constitution/IPC etc?

In general term we can say that prostitution means engaging in sexual activity with other person who is not your legally spouse or friend, in exchange for some amount of money. There is no proper law in India related to work of prostitutio n which regulate them and govern them. Generally to regulate it there is Immoral traffic (Prevention) Act 1956, Indian Penal Code as well as Juvenile Justice Act, all these are some provisions in India which deals with prostitution an d human trafficking.

Supreme court in Budhadev Karmaskar vs State of West Bengal held that prostitutes are entitled to dignity as well as equal protection under the law and hence we can say prostitution is part of term "Profession". In India, voluntary sex is not illegal in India and no one can we charged for voluntary sex but running brothels as well as place where prostitution can we performed is illegal and it is punishable under IPC and several other provisions of the land. SC ordered that when authorities are raiding such broth els, they cannot illegally arrest , maltreat or harassed the individual who were performing such activities because voluntary sex is not illegal in India.

´┐ŻApart from this if the sex workers face any sexual harassment than the police authorities many a times denies to file there complaint and in such a situation the victims of the harassment not get the desired justice. SC tries to solve this problem of sex worker by asking District legal service authority and state legal service authority provide support and guidance to such victims of assault and harassment.

Many a time media in order to increase there TRP as well as to increase viewer ship they expose sex racket and in doing so they reveal face of sex worker and sex worker have to face online bashing from netizens. SC also in same order held that if media tries to reveal the identity of prostitute as well as there clients, then they will be liable under Section 354C of IPC.

The government from time to time formulate certain policies which were made for the sex workers but the problem with such policies/decision ns is that the beneficiary of the policies were not consulted and that's why the problem of sex workers were not resolved. Supreme Court in Budhadev case recommended that centre/state government must consult with the beneficiary of the policies i.e. sex workers before forming any policies or taking any decisions. Apart from all these problems which sex workers face in there day to day life, there are many others issues which prevent them from living a good life.

The prostitute were denied for the identity card (Aadhar card) as well Ration card by the authority just because of the work and professional life. Because of lack of identity and other such cards they were not able to get the several social bene fits which were launched by the State as well as Central government.

SC order the authorities to immediately issue Aadhar and all other important documents to sex workers and also ask them to ensure that in future no one should be denied because of there professional life. Some of the issues faced by sex workers were resolved but at same time there are several unresolved issued which was very important to be solved. The following are the unresolved or issues faced by the workers in India:
  1. Many a time individual involved in prostitution face unwanted pregnancy and face several problem because of that. It was important that these workers should get proper information about several contraceptive like condoms, vasectomy, pills etc and in this process government plays a very vital role because government have several medium to spread information about different contraceptives available in the market.
  2. Secondly, when these sex workers got pregnant and want to aborted the child they were denied by the hospital on several silly reasons. It was responsibility of the government to make necessary legislation which ensure that the victims of un-wanted pregnancy were able to aborted the child as well as th- ey get proper medication.
  3. Thirdly, there are several situations where these workers were not able to maintain livelihood because of several reasons which also include Covid pandemic etc. As we have seen during the covid situation the sex workers face a great difficulty and also they were not able to avail the several bene- fits which government provide to its citizens. In such a situation it was important and also it was duty of both the government as well as judiciary to protect the interest of these sex workers.

In India we know poverty is still prevalent mostly all over the country and people because of poverty have to perform certain works which ensure that they earn basic livelihood but in doing so they sometime perform some illegal activities. But in case of prostitution as we know is not illegal rather it was legally allowed because voluntary sex is not a crime in India.

In performing there work they have to face several difficulty and in country like India which is still a developing country where people are still conservative and they consider prostitution as a sin. Some of the problems are solved b- ut still there are some unleft issues which need to be solved in the near future.

Written By: Vedant Pandey

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