New Delhi: Prostitution is not illegal in India. Sex workers have to face the backlash of society. But now prostitution is a profession like others. This will provide dignity, equal protection, and social status under the law.
In a historic decision, the Supreme Court said that “prostitution is a profession and all sex workers will get respect like others.
Moreover, the Apex Court has also directed police officials not to take action against consenting sex workers. India ranks among the top five countries for prostitution, and the Supreme Court bench, led by Justice L Nageswara Rao, highlighted that voluntary sex work was not illegal.
The top Court heard a plea highlighting the deprivation faced by sex workers on account of the Covid-19 pandemic and sought relief measures for over nine lakh women and transgender sex workers across India.
According to the Court, criminal law must be applied based on age and consent.If a sex worker files a complaint of a criminal, sexual, or other type of offence, the police have been directed to take action and follow the law.
The Bench ruled that voluntary sex workers should not be charged or harassed whenever a brothel is raided because prostitution is not illegal in India.
Moreover, the Supreme Court has directed that the government involve sex workers or their representatives while making any policy decisions, including planning, designing, and implementing any policy or programme for sex workers or formulating any reform in the laws relating to sex work.
The Court also mentioned that no child or sex worker must not be separated from their mother merely because they are involved in the sex trade. If any sex worker is a victim of sexual assault, she must be provided with all the facilities available for victims of sexual assault in India.
Lastly, the top Court has also directed governments to hold awareness drives and educate sex workers on their rights, the legality of their profession, the obligations of the police and what is prohibited and allowed under the law.