History of Prostitution & Why It Should Be Legalized in India

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Prostitution is most often described as the oldest profession in the world. We are the home of the oldest brothel “Sonagachi”. Whether prostitution is good for the society or not, is a debatable topic and people especially religious fanatics will go all guns blazing against it – but the truth lies in the fact that Prostitution is a necessary evil.

Source: Geralt

From time immemorial, prostitution has been practiced in our society and people have used brothels in every emotion known to mankind. Whether in times of happiness to celebrating victories in war or to sulk their miseries in alcohol and prostitutes whenever men remained away from their family for long.

Every kind of person is found in brothels from the Lords to the slaves, from the soldiers to the peasants. Some lose their virginity in Brothels, some try to ease their agony in brothels. Those men who are too desperate can very well use the services of women in this industry, yes it’s a multi-billion dollars industry worldwide, Hurrah big bucks in it.

History Of Prostitution

The history of prostitution in India is a lofty one, Chanakya in his great book “Arthshastra” has categorically defined and codified the entire process/practice of prostitution to be followed in those times. It’s ironic that ancient India was far more advanced in passion and love-making (remember, in our land “Kamasutra” was scripted and the sculptures in Ajanta and Ellora caves bear a great testimony of our culture) than in the so called Modern era. Sex back then, was a piece of art unlike seen today as a taboo.

During Durga Puja 18 types of soil are used for bathing the deity – one type is taken from a prostitute’s door. Well, the gesture is nothing but a token of appreciation for their services – After all they are the ones who consume the poison of the society!

Prostitution Now

The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act is nonsensical to say the least, according to this act soliciting prostitutes or trading in public is illegal but if a prostitute caters to her clients in her private space then it is absolutely legal. The profit of this act however doesn’t go to the society, but to the corrupt police personnel who want to earn some extra bucks, and who are hands in gloves with the cunning prostitutes.

Prostitution per se is not bad, majority of the women in this trade do not join out of choice but compulsion, anything which feeds the empty stomach, some are forced and high end ones are for the easy money attached with it.

The life of a sex worker is not a bed of roses but a bed of thorns but the larger question is Should Prostitution be legalized?
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The answer will not please many and will hit directly on their morals but given the amount of lust Indian men are carrying which comes out in the form of rapes and has turned men into misogynists, it is but a necessary evil, given the condition of the society we live in.

Serving as a Sex worker is the most difficult job in this country, the kind of abuses the poor lady faces is unfathomable and the risks of Sexually Transmitted Diseases is a harsh reality. On the other side a man from our so called respectable society is too afraid to walk in a brothel for the fear of being caught and the social stigmas attached to it.

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The Prostitution system should be regulated and codified in law with proper organization to deal with it, why not borrow the law laid down by our very own Chanakya, after all we have always borrowed from other countries their legislations and accepted them as our own. Needless to say, ours constitution is the world’s biggest borrowed constitution. Even the Supreme Court has formed a committee to look into this issue. Though, it is a praiseworthy step, it has no results in sight.

Let’s codify the law regulating prostitution, few suggestions of my own are as such :-

  1. Create a dedicated department in every district regulating prostitutes and prostitution with the District Magistrate at the helm of affairs.
  2. Create a Huge building with modern facilities and make it a government run brothel.
  3. Every prostitute should be medically examined, have her age verified and then allotted a personal unique ID for identification.
  4. Have condom dispensing machines inside and machines for the pills for terminating pregnancies.
  5. Have the police personnel guard the brothels for unwarranted miscreants.
  6. Have a license fees for every client, to pay for the expenses borne by the government in running such an establishment.
  7. Have all the illegal establishments closed down making it the monopoly of the government. No public private partnership please.
  8. Have the girls lead a respectable life in the society by establishing schools and hospitals in the neighborhood.
  9. Create an environment such as where only women who are willing to enter this trade works and no one is forced to work.
  10. Make the sex worker pay minimal taxes on her income so that she can contribute to the economy in her own minimal ways.
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Before the 1991 policy our government regulated everything then why shy away from this, the road ahead will be met with resistance but once achieved, the society will become a much better place to live especially for women and the men with lust in their pants will have a better place to vent it out rather than prying on the streets for their next victim. If half the globe can legalize, why not us, our ancestors did it, why don’t we take a giant leap forward and revolutionize the entire “thing.”

P.S- I have the highest regards for women who are in the sex trade not out of choice but due to compulsion – You are indeed making this society a far better place to live in.

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Highest respect!

About Sanchit Garg 12 Articles
The writer is an Advocate regularly practicing in Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court on civil, criminal and constitutional side.