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Prostitution is considered bad but a man who goes to prostitutes is not. Why do we always blame the women rather than understanding and helping them?
“We don’t expect anything from government or anybody; they have only labeled us as ‘prohibited’. Put out of your mind having an access to a better life, we can’t even have the basic human rights. Even if we try to abscond this place or our so called profession ‘prostitution’ in lieu to start afresh, the society won’t let us forget who we were and who we are.”- a sex worker (identity hidden).
Prostitution, is the practice of engaging in sexual activity in exchange for payment either as funds, services, or some other advantage granted upon by the transacting parties. Prostitution has been prevalent in India since ages. A quarter of estimated 10 million prostitutes in India’s commercial sex industry are minor (under 18 yrs).
This place is no less than a burial ground, a cemetery where the silent ones dance to the tunes of lust. Chirping through the windows of more than a century old catacomb like brothels, women staying there try to find regulars for themselves in every man crossing by.
The hustlers staying there can neither tell their names nor do they show their faces. After all, what is the compulsion to do so? why do they need to hide their identification? We are not sure how many lives are living in the black, broken tunnels and chambers just to fulfil their basic need of bread, butter and shelter.
Just for a penny these women sell their bodies, flesh and soul and call it their fate. Just the need of a day’s meal and shelter, places these sex workers under judgement and public disgrace. Along with dismal poverty, these women are often stuck in difficult situations where often they are conned into prostitution by their close loved ones. Other times, some anti-social elements con innocent women into marrying and eloping with them and later on selling them to a brothel.
With dusk, eyes peep through windows on the busy road to find men who can spend money on them throughout the night. Can you ever imagine the sheer hell these women live through and in which they survive; a mere sight of these chambers would choke us and make our knees buckle. Wonder how many helpless fates are being crushed here throughout the nights.
No matter how deep and innumerable the scars on their bodies, can one really count the wounds on these women’s souls? Used and maltreated like any available toy, these women have wounds in their souls. There is no place for their desire and dreams to survive. They don’t even have any right to their own feelings. Yet these women dare to dream to live a dignified life. They want to break free.
Yes, they certainly want to break boundaries and live a dignified life, but all that is not possible without our concern, help and attention. However, sadly we are all too busy dealing with our own issues related to our “sophisticated” lives. And no one even bothers to worry about them. We always criticise them, judge them, but never do this to the men who feast on them. Prostitution is considered bad but a man who goes to prostitutes is not. Why do we always blame the women rather than understanding and helping them?
Station House Officer (then) now ACP Surinder Jeet Kaur told me during our telephonic conversation, “These girls are like us only. They dream, laugh, love and want to be loved the way we are loved. But destiny has some other plans for them. They choose the profession of prostitution because they have no choice. I have seen their lives very closely and must say that’s unbearable. Having seen all the pain they go through I decided to help them. I rescued many of the girls from brothels and help them leading a normal life. Rescued girls were sent to an NGO and some of them got married and are leading a happy life now.”
The girls call Kaur ‘amma’. And she is still in touch with girls whom she rescued and always stays available to them.
The law says prostitution is legal to practice in India but with certain limitations or restrictions like: managing a brothel, child prostitution, accosting in public place, pimping, bordello (a place where men pay to have sex) being illegal. It is only legal till the time a woman wants to exercise her rights over her body. The moment it becomes slavery or a forceful way of earning it is considered illegal.
Despite the fact that the Constitution looks at the status of a strumpet under The Immoral Traffic (Suppression) Act of 1956; the legality of the idea is in general still vague. Hypothetically, as long as this work is kept at least some yards away from any public place and society, prostitution as a source of earnings is in fact permissible, exclusive of brothels and pimping.
Legalising prostitution is considered to be safer for women in order to curb illegal trafficking. Legalisation would also improve health conditions of sex workers by lowering HIV rates, and provide safer and better working hours and remunerations.
Legalising prostitution would mean organising sex trade. So by organising are we really talking about women here? Are we even thinking about them? By organising sex trade do you really think that a woman can actually exercise the rights they have on their body? For doing this there must be many consultations done with sex workers themselves so they can choose their rights. The legalisation process must include the voices and opinions of the women who are actually into this so called one of the oldest profession especially when this is already legal in so many ways. By doing this the law is actually making slavery legal.
How does one regulate hours in the sex trade I wonder? In this industry how do you regulate the working hours? Can a woman actually have sex with so many men in 8 working hours? Is it really practically possible when we talk about regulating working hours? Countries where it is legal I guess the women are addicted to drugs because of the hard fact that a human cannot have nonstop sex and it cannot be considered equivalent to selling your mind and physical labor in return for money for earning a livelihood. Also let’s not forget about the clientele; is there any control over them in terms of his condition like HIV, druggist, sadist, etc.
“Indian laws permits sex work directly (from sex worker to client), it criminalises pimping. I think anything that is illegal gives it the colour of being wrong. It increases the chances of exploitation (both of sex worker & their clients). Legalising prostitution can help in acknowledging the demands of the sex workers and will also ensure their safety along with the safety of the clients”, said Mishika, a lawyer by profession.
Poverty, betrayal by those she knows, famine, and many other reasons are enough for a woman to leave her home and land up as a décor of these places called brothel houses. And legalising this would hence mean giving all these points righteousness for their existence.
I am not apprehensive of sex; I am not even saying it is not important. Be it a man or a woman sex is important for both physically and emotionally. But isn’t it important to realise the importance of love over sex? We always tell ourselves that love is a lie, is nothing but lust but I still feel this lie is better than the bitter truth of these brothel houses.
Image Source: pixabay
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