Prostitution- Legalize or Abolish?

Prostitution in India is a contentious issue. Well, all of us are the proud citizens of a country where hypocrites reign strong. I can say this so emphatically because hitherto our society has allowed maladies like prostitution to grow by not accepting the severity of such issues and thereby not making any attempt to deal with them. As per the present status of Prostitution in our Constitution, there is ambiguity in laws and consequently it’s practiced throughout the country on an extravagant scale. There have been debates on if it should be legalized or abolished, both of which are very challenging. Once I was in a debate for the same which made me put on my thinking cap but till now I am bewildered. Here I’d like to throw light on both the sides of the coin.

There are over 9000 crores sex workers in our country and considering the magnitude of prostitution, it seems to be practically impossible to eradicate it by some sudden law or policy. By legalizing prostitution it can be made sure that it atleast happens in a systematic manner whereby no one involved is exploited. There are scores of sex workers who are inflicted with AIDS and STDs which is often transferred further ruining many other lives. In rural areas there are so many families who are suffering from these severe diseases just because the male member of the family was involved with some prostitute who had that disease. Moreover the fashion in which prostitution is practiced raises severe doubts about the basic fundamental rights and well being of the sex workers involved. These sex workers are often exploited for the simple reason that there is no authority to guard them. This is the basic reason why it should be legalized.

If it’s legalized many girls who are forced into this business can be saved. Also if prostitutes are registered then the Government comes tbecomes aware of the circumstances which actually compel girls to take up prostitution and the challenges can be met out. Legalizing as advocated by many would also help inbringing down the number of rape cases..

But while am advocating that prostitution should be legalized; the basic worry that haunts my mind is the social standing of a legal prostitute in a society like ours. Our society has some constraints whereby prostitution can never be recognized just like any other profession and if prostitution is legalized it may worsen the situation of prostitutes who have ventured into this business due to poverty and short of alternative occupations. I fail to find instances wherein a legal prostitute could be befriended by any of us simply because of the mindsets we have grown up with. Legalizing may encourage more girls to take up prostitution too. It may also add to the toll of divorces in the country.

Well I may come across to be very confused and yes I am!!! When I think of the morose plight of prostitutes and the scale at which it’s being practiced, I feel it should be legalized but in light of the kind of society we dwell in, legalizing prostitution may prove to be very hazardous. This undoubtedly is a sensitive issue and it may sound idealistic but a collective and effective effort seems to be the only solution out here. The government should try to look after the poor and needy by providing them with adequate basic amenities. I understand this is a big problem that needs urgent attentionbecause there would be a huge population of girls who have grown up without basic education in miserable ambiance and that they are very prone to enter into prostitution. But such people can be helped by making them learn things like stitching, pottery handicrafts etc so that they can earn a living and avert their lives from being converted into a mi nature hell. (Here I am assuming that any prostitute’s life would be one of perpetual trauma because I belong to that privileged section of our society who can’t even imagine a prostitute’s real state.)

Srishti Gupta

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