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Brothels: Prostitution As A Bigger Picture

In Indian society, prostitution has always been an unavoidable reality. It is mentioned in the ages-old Mahabharata and continues to exist clandestinely now all over the nation. Sex trading is prevalent throughout India, whether it is in the well-known Sonagachi neighbourhood of Kolkata or the remote villages of Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur region. The sex industry is the most isolated and unappreciated segment of society, and these locations are frequently referred to as "Redlight zones."

Nobody is interested in their situation. At midnight, the market for commercial prostitution begins, and by daylight, it has ended. The children of these sex workers have no future because they live in the worst circumstances possible with regard to access to food, health care, education, and happiness. Their childhood memories of seeing those male customers enter the brothels, and occasionally everything that happens there, are erased. They experience stress and psychological distress.

Prostitutes are a segment of society that has long gone unnoticed and undiscussed. We highlight them as a red-light area, but the major highlight in terms of development, safety, and medical assistance is completely lacking on our part. It is not that we lack legislation to govern them; rather, the legislation is never implemented so that they can benefit from it. This is a profession that other sections of society think about the least because there is a preconceived notion that brothels are always associated with something bad and against society's norms.

This vulnerable segment of society includes children who are born without an identity. Recognizing these children is necessary to prevent their future from being added to the already existing list of prostitutes. Because no one except NGOs or government officials has ever visited these areas, this section is unknown to the rest of the world.

Although the profession is not wrong because it is a practise for sustaining life, it is allegedly advised not to include children in the same because they are unaware of the larger story their mothers are associated with. The children born out of brothels are similar to all other children, but the former lacks opportunities and advice which the latter possess. The existing legislation lays out how children born in brothels can be made to feel secure and have a normal upbringing, but laws and society can only coexist if they coexist. The mere existence of law is rendered meaningless when society fails to adopt and apply it.

Millions of children around the world have different upbringings than others due to the environment into which they are born. Children are regarded as the nation's future, and thus the necessity of protecting these children should be adopted and cared for. This can be accomplished by utilising legal support in the form of legislation and statutes to identify these children and assist them in leading a good, normal life free of negativity.

Growing Up In Brothels

When a child grows up, he or she is surrounded by a family, providing an environment in which to live freely, dream freely, play, learn, and develop without much hindrance or impediment, because they have parents to guide them. Certain aspects of a normal childhood are missing in children born in brothels. Perhaps because of the children's past, they are unable to have a normal childhood. Most of the time, the mothers of these children prefer not to reveal the father's name. As a result, the child in his or her growing years sees the world solely from his or her own perspective, with little guidance.

The environment in which the children grow is a brothel environment. A boy or a girl in the brothel will meet children from similar backgrounds, which makes no difference, because each of them suffers as a result of their birth in such a place. Few of them were able to reach out to the outside world with the assistance of social workers and government officials in order to pursue education and, ultimately, their dreams.

Several surveys conducted or are currently being conducted on the children of brothels reveal that all such children have caged dreams. Several foreign officials were granted access to India's red-light districts, where children were interviewed about their daily lives. The majority of the interviews revealed that they are given weekly assistance in the form of food and education by NGOs, and the majority of them gather because of the food.

It was because of the environment they belong to and are associated with, it is difficult for children in brothels to develop an interest in learning. NGOs from across the country have been working to normalize the lives of these children by providing them with opportunities. However, the issues surrounding the brothels have the greatest impact on the children born in them.

Every child in this brothel wishes to be heard and cared for because they have no idea what the term "normal" means because the environment they are in is normal for them. Gender discrimination is another social issue that is associated with this segment of society.

Few children have access to school and education, and the majority of girls are forced to follow in their mothers' footsteps if they are girls. Mothers are rarely able to care for their children because they are involved in their profession. This makes it easier for children to grow up in the wrong way and become involved in more illegal activities in society.

Many of them become addicted to drugs, which has a long-term impact on their lives. Due to a lack of guidance and education, these children are forced to engage in fraudulent activities, making them more likely to commit crimes in society.

There have also been instances where the child worked as manual labour to support himself. On the contrary, the government is attempting to implement the legislation known as The Child Labor Act, 1986 in a variety of ways in order to completely eliminate child labor from the country. Our country guarantees fundamental rights to every citizen in the country, including children. The Right to Education Act, 2009 was enacted by the Indian Parliament under the broad definition of the right to life under Article 21-A of the Indian Constitution to provide compulsory education to children aged 6 to 14 years.

As a result, access to free and compulsory education is a fundamental right guaranteed to every child from birth. Children born in brothels are denied certain rights that are granted to all other children. Furthermore, the right to life and personal liberty guaranteed by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution includes the right to live in dignity, free from exploitation.

The Supreme Court of India stated in the case of Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India that the right to life includes the right to life with human dignity that is free of any kind of exploitation. Life in brothels can never be idealised as free of exploitation. However, children born from the same can be given this right to ensure a good life now and in the future.

Right to shelter: In the case of Chameli Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh, the court ruled that the right to shelter is a guaranteed fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution, and it is also enforceable. For the economic background in which they are born and raised, children born in brothels do not have this right. Most of them grow up on their own in the environment in which their mothers work, and they survive there. As a result, providing these children with the right to shelter is a critical requirement.

Right to health and medical assistance: Children born in brothels do not receive the proper care and medical guidance that every child requires. Immunization is required to keep a child from becoming ill on a regular basis. Vaccinations are available to develop resistance to any virus effect or infection. Medicines and basic aid are still unavailable for children born in brothels because it is difficult to reach them.

If they are also given it, the fact that they do not know how to use it will render it useless. The environment exposes children in these areas to a variety of diseases and infections. As a result, these children benefit from monthly checkups.

Children in brothels are frequently subjected to child trafficking, beggary, and sex trafficking due to a lack of care, guidance, and education. These children are forced to participate in inhumane activities that make their lives in this world miserable. The children have no way out of the situation that has been designed for them. It has been observed in several cases that the mother is forced by the situation to sell her children for money.

The world within the brothel is dark, and it is one that those outside of it cannot comprehend. As a result, the right to life includes the right to be free from inhuman treatment, particularly in the case of children.

Furthermore, Articles 23 and 24 of the Indian Constitution separately guarantee the right against exploitation, with the latter focusing on the exploitation of children. Article 24 of the Constitution states that forced labour by children is an offence under this provision. Children are forced to work in mines, factories, and restaurants, which can be hazardous to their health.

The most important goal of any law governing children in brothels is to avoid creating situations in which children are forced to enter the profession of prostitution and spend the rest of their lives in the brothel. There are cases where children born in brothels, as previously discussed, are subjected to child labour as a means of survival.

The above scenarios suggest that children who are born and raised in brothels suffer mentally, psychologically, and socially throughout their lives. The only right that children in brothels have in abundance is freedom. However, if not regulated, this freedom can give rise to an entirely different scenario.

So many stories about these children go unheard and unnoticed. This ignorance may prove to be detrimental to society in the future. Movies, documentaries, articles, and discussions have all been produced or are currently being produced to promote the lives of children in brothels.

Laws Governing Children In Brothels

Child Rights are the rights that every child has regardless of where they are born. Child Rights are a subset of Human Rights that focuses specifically on children. Like the previously mentioned fundamental rights, there are a set of rights known as child rights that must be provided to every child.

The right to develop includes education as a key component, as well as cultural activities and recreation. To simplify whatever is required for a child's basic upbringing.

The right to survive entails identification, access to food for nutrition, and the ability to live freely.

Participation in decision-making, expression, and speaking

The right to be protected from all negative elements.

Violation of these rights is common and easy to commit because they are, after all, children. Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights outline the factors that must be considered as a basic need for any man, woman, or child. These elements are also mentioned in the Indian Constitution. The goal is to provide the essence of living to any human being.

The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act of 1956 is recognised legislation that protects those working in brothels and their children. This Act makes sexual exploitation of both men and women a punishable offence. The Act needed to be revised because it failed to focus on and provide comprehensive provisions for the children of prostitutes.

This Act was amended in 2018 when the Lok Sabha passed the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Amendment Bill, which primarily addressed the social issue of child trafficking, which has been on the rise in the country. According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNCF), several children from vulnerable sections of society are trafficked each year.

The Rescue and Rehabilitation of Children and Minors Act, 1986 directed a magistrate to order police officials to arrest any person who initiates the profession of prostitution in a brothel, and the children of brothels are to be rescued under the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986, thereby providing care and protection. At the moment, the Juvenile Justice Act has been replaced by the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, which aims to protect children from any illegal activities that constitute an offence under the relevant statutes, as well as to provide a reasonable amount of care and protection to those children. The majority of trafficked children have gone untraced for an extended period of time.

Child trafficking is a type of child prostitution. Child prostitution is defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as "sexual exploitation of a child under the age of 18 in exchange for remuneration." Furthermore, according to a report prepared by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, about 30% of child prostitution occurs in the cities of Calcutta, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi. According to this report, all of the cities mentioned are highly developed, metropolitan cities that are mostly urban in origin and are able to provide basic amenities to their residents.

The Indian Constitution's Directive Principles of State Policy have also proven to be beneficial to females in terms of several socio-legal legislations. Articles 39(e) and 39(f) aim to promote the welfare of children regardless of where they belong. While the former protects men, women, and children from abuse at a young age, the latter emphasises the importance of providing children with opportunities to grow and develop in a healthy environment in order to protect their youth. Along with civil liabilities, there are also criminal liabilities. The procreation of any minor girl child from one place to another is punishable under Section 366 A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The Criminal Procedure Code of 1973 is another important statute that protects minor girls and women from exploitation. Section 98 of the same statute provides for immediate relief for any girl or woman who has been unlawfully detained. As previously stated, The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 elevated and better recognised and guaranteed child rights, as the Act elaborated under its domain the need for development, care, protection, education, and rehabilitation. This Act broadly recognised two objects, which are:
  • Providing protection and care to children who require it
  • Dealing with juveniles who have run a foul of the law.

Both of these aspects are relevant when viewed through the lens of the issue at hand, specifically children born in brothels. Care is the basic need of those children for the environment in which they live and are raised. Similarly, protecting juveniles who have been in conflict with the law is as important as providing care for them, because children born in brothels are influenced in the wrong direction due to a lack of guidance and education. Those who commit crimes must be sent to a rehabilitation centre in order to avoid similar confrontations in the future.

The Information Technology Act of 2000, as well as all other statutes, must be mentioned. This is due to the fact that child pornography has become a new method of child trafficking. Section 67 of the Act criminalises the practise by declaring it illegal. A lot happens in this world of digitalisation without the affected individual knowing much about it. If the same is done to the children of brothels, it will be difficult to be compensated for such an offence, so the implementation of such an Act is critical.

The statutes mentioned above are some of those that can protect a child born in a brothel because a child born in a brothel is no different than a normal child, but the only difference is that these children from a vulnerable section of society are subjected to exploitation in a larger way than normal children who are privileged to be provided with more than just basic necessities.

Decisions On Legislation On Laws Governing The Brothels

The landmark judgement issued by the Supreme Court of India in the case of Gaurav Jain v. Union of India provided the necessary recognition to children born in brothels. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that children born in brothels to prostitutes have the right to equality in terms of the opportunity to be on par with other children in society, as well as the necessary dignity, care, and protection measures, as well as rehabilitation, to make these children feel like they are a part of society at large and to remove the stigma that others in society have attached to them.

Sakshi v. Union of India is a case in point. The Supreme Court ruled that Sections 375 and 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, must be amended to protect children who have been sexually abused. This decision makes it clear that the court wishes to provide a better future for children born in brothels or from vulnerable sections of society who require guidance and care to have a bright future. There haven't been many court decisions concerning children in brothels or prostitutes in general. However, whatever the court has observed has had a positive impact on the profession and its associates.

Books, interviews, videos, and movies all provide evidence that infants born in brothels face a number of social disadvantages. When they interact with society outside of the brothel, the prejudice they have already experienced because of their origin is still present.

NGOs are making every effort to connect with these kids and give them the knowledge and necessities that every other kid needs. Due to the lack of possibilities, opportunities to grow, and consideration from the outside world, they are unable to utilise their latent skills.

Many young people are still stuck in the profession, especially girls and boys who are either involved in drug peddling or other crimes that will make their lives difficult in the future. One job that is acknowledged as both legal and criminal in different nations is prostitution.

There is no need for acknowledgement, but there is a lack of safety and assistance for the children born in the brothels. Children need the outside world to grow and fly and not allow their dreams to be constrained within the four walls of the brothel they are born in if they are to provide a better future for themselves in terms of security financially, physically, mentally, socially, and in terms of learning opportunities and the scope for establishing themselves. Legally speaking, babies born in brothels have the same rights and obligations as other babies born outside of the establishment.

They are both equally normal. The only thing the law can do is integrate these kids into society's mainstream along with the rest of the population. Then, equality in concrete terms can be accomplished. Since these kids are our future, society as a whole must take responsibility for them. Our obligation and responsibility is to respect and safeguard them. Therefore, it is necessary to provide these kids with what they are receiving.

Judicial Decision Of The Issue
The Supreme Court has rendered significant rulings affirming the rights of children of sex workers and ordering the government to work toward their development and rehabilitation. In the case of Gaurav Jain v. Union of India, the Supreme Court noted that upholding these children's rights is a duty on the part of the government and ruled that they are entitled to equality of opportunity, dignity, care, protection, and rehabilitation in order to integrate into society without stigma or discrimination.

Women who work in brothels frequently fail to tell their kids who their father is. In the case of ABC v. The State (NCT of Delhi), the Supreme Court ruled that single mothers who raise their children alone cannot be forced to reveal the father's identity to them and that the mother must be regarded as the child's only parent for all legal purposes. The Supreme Court pushed for its opinion to change sections 375 and 376 of the prevent sexual abuse of children in the case Sakshi v. Union of India.

These kids who are susceptible to violence and sexual assault now have hope thanks to the verdict.

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