In its most recent verdict, the Supreme Court of India legalized the profession of sex workers. A much-awaited decision for the workers of the industry. However, since the verdict, discussions have been taking place around the table as to how this decision would improve the lives of the affected.
What does the law say?
As per the Indian Penal Code (IPC), prostitution is not illegal in its absolute sense, however, it includes activities that form a major part of prostitution and are thus punishable under certain provisions of the act, as stated below:
a) Soliciting prostitution services in public places.
b) Carrying out prostitution activities in hotels.
c) Indulging in prostitution by arranging for a sex worker.
d) Arrangement of a sexual act with a customer.
The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1986
The act was originally made in the year 1956 and was amended in the year 1986. This act declares prostitution illegal and also enlists punishment for owning any such related establishment
Also as per the act, a person involved in any phase of the chain activities like recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring, or receiving people for the purpose of prostitution, as per the act, would be punished
The person involving a child in any such activities, he/she in such case would be subject to punishment by law and may be imprisoned for seven or more years.
Is Prostitution Legal or Not
As stated earlier Prostitution is not illegal in the nation but soliciting and public prostitution are. As per the laws, owing to a brothel is also considered illegal, but a number of Red Light Areas are being run in the nation, thus, the law hardly makes any sense.
How the verdict would improve the lives of the sex workers
The verdict now treats Sex workers with equal legal protection rights.
Police would act seriously if a sex worker reports any kind of offense( criminal/sexual or another type) to them.
In case a brothel is being raided then the sex workers involved will not be arrested, penalized, harassed, or victimized
Any sex worker who had been a victim of sexual assault would be provided with all the services as rendered to any other sexual assault survivor, including immediate medical attention.
Police need to treat all the sex workers with dignity and would not abuse them physically or verbally.