Move to legalise prostitution welcomedBy IANS
Thursday, December 10, 2009
NEW DELHI - Sex workers and civil society members Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court raising the issue of legalising prostitution, saying decriminalising the world’s oldest profession would help curb the spread of HIV.
We believe the Supreme Court is right in its observation. India has been trying to stop women from entering prostitution since Independence. But all the efforts have been unsuccessful. Penalising, punishing these people is of no use, said S. Jana, an activist working for the betterment of sex workers in Kolkata.
Legalizing it will help curb the spread of HIV. Medical interventions can be a success when you decriminalize the trade, he added.
Miranl Kanti, a sex worker from Kolkata, who is currently in Delhi to participate in a health conference, said: We all support its legalization.
On Wednesday, Justices Dalveer Bhandari and A.K. Patnaik of the apex court told Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam that “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 legalize it? You can then monitor the trade, rehabilitate and provide medical aid to those involved.”
When gay sex has already been decriminalized. Why not then prostitution?. This will help thousands of poor women access to a good livelihood, Khairati Lal Bhola, chief of the Bharatiya Patita Uddhar Sabha, told IANS.
“In our country millions of women are struggling to earn their livelihood through sex trade and have been demanding legal sanction for their trade for years, said Bhola, who has been working for the welfare of prostitutes for over five decades.
India has nearly 2.5 million prostitutes operating out of nearly 300,000 brothels in 1,100 red light areas across the country.
Geeta, president of the Karnataka Sex Workers Union, said her organization was fighting to make prostitution legal.
“On one hand police use force and violence against us. The society also discriminates against us because of our profession. All this violence and discrimination will end once our profession is legalized,” said Geeta.
Akhila Shivdas, another activist working for marginalised women in the country, said: “It’s not an issue of legal or illegal. Its about decriminalising women involved in the profession. It’s about giving them a constitutional status.”