You are on page 1of 44


Dr. Sangeet Kumar


Prostitution is an act of sexual intercourse in exchange for money.
According to the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956,
prostitution means the sexual exploitation or abuse of persons for
commercial purposes.
In India, there are an estimated 3 million
women working as prostitutes of which 1.2 million sex workers are
under the age of 18
.The average age that a girl enters the sex trade in
India is reported to be between 9 to 12 years old. Asia is the largest
sex industry centre in world.
In terms of number of prostitution India
comes at the second palace in world after China (5 million).According
to survey, The prostitution industry in India generates $8.4 Billion
(400 Billion Indian Rupees) each year
and out of which $2.31 Billion
(110 Billion Indian Rupees) generated by Child prostitution.

Prostitution has a long history in India right from the Ancient time,
there was a practice of having Nagarvadhus, Brides of the town. till
today. Indian Courts have also recognized [P]rostitution in society
has not been an unknown phenomenon... The victims of the trap are
the poor, illiterate and ignorant sections of the society and are the
target group in the flesh trade; rich communities exploit them and
harvest at their misery and ignominy in an organized gangsterism, in
particular, with police nexus...

2(f), Immpral Traffic (Prevention) Act,1956(here in after ITPA).
Andrew Mac Askill and Bibhudatta Pradhan, Sold for Sex at Puberty Village Girls Fate in India,
Bloomberg Business week,September 18,2013.

Robert I. Freidman, Indias Shame: Sexual Slavery and Political Corruption Are Leading to An AIDS
Catastrophe, The Nation, April 8, 1996 c.f. Donna M. Hughes et al, Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation,
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW),

Sankar Sen and P.M.Nair,A Report on Trafficking in Women and Children in India 2002-2003, NHRC-
UNIFEM-ISS Project, Vol. 1. July 2004.
S. Sridevi Goel, Girl Child Prostitution, Societys Responsibility Indian Scenario, 7 CBI BULLETIN 14
Gaurav Jain v. Union of India and others AIR 1997 SC 3021 (K. Ramaswamy J.,).

This research paper aims to know the adverse effect of prostitution in
our society and try to know how it operates in our society. The paper
will start with a broad overview of the definition of prostitution with
regard to India and historical background of prostitution. Historical
back-ground include the cause and effect of prostitution in our
society. This is followed by the kind of prostitution and their brief
analysis. Then this paper will move to legal provision of prostitution
regard to world. Legal provision will start with a broad overview of
the national and international law dealing with prostitution. It will
include various existing law prevail in various countries and steps in
respect of legalisation of prostitution that have been adopted by
various countries. This will followed by the picture in India with
regard to legal frame work and ground realities will be consider
including issues of inadequacy of the legal frame work and misuse
thereof. The decision of Supreme court and High court will be looked
at where the problem of sex work have been contemplated and
addressed. This will be followed by field work and data analysis
which include interview of various person. The final chapter deal with
research question and it include question of legalisation,
decriminalisation and total prohibition of commercial sex work and It
also deal with the effect of such legalisation on our society and try to
know about the authenticity, merit and demerit of legalisation of
prostitution. The conclusion would contain a summary of the issue
brought forth in paper and also suggestion deal with prostitution. This
will followed by bibliography. This paper will only deal with
prostitution and not deal with human trafficking.

Aims and Objectives

The purpose of this research paper is to examine the intricacies
involved in the problem of prostitution in India and also to critically
analyze the legal frame work of prostitution in India and other
Try to know the adverse effect and cause of prostitution in our
Try to know historical background of prostitution.
Try to have a better understanding of national and international law
dealing with prostitution.
To have a better understanding of the factors that make the prostitute
carry on with her job despite the societal labels and stigma.
Try to understand various types of prostitution.
Try to merits and demerit of legalisation of prostitution.
Try to suggest the appropriate measures that would help in taking up
cudgels against the existing evils.
The researcher feels that the prostitution of women is a social problem
all around the world and our country is also facing this problem.
According to researcher poverty is the main cause that leads to
prostitution in India. The researcher feels that the prostitution of
women in flesh trade business should be legalised.

Research Methodology
Doctrinal Method

The doctrinal method in this project refers to various books, law
review, magazine and journals on prostitution. Some help has also
been taken from news paper, article and data given in report and last
but not the least on line material.
Non Doctrinal Method
The non doctrinal method will involve interview of 2-3 women
caught in flesh trade, Police officer, Journalist. It also involves
Interview of a common man and taking their view on this social
Introduction (definition)
An individual male or female who for some kind of new or for some
other personal satisfaction and as a part of full time profession,
engages in normal or abnormal sexual intercourse with various
persons who may be of the same sex. Or the opposite sex is the
prostitution and the trade which is being carried on in this way is
called prostitution.

"Prostitute" is derived from the Latin prostituta. Some sources cite the
verb as a composition of "pro" meaning "up front" or "forward" and
"situere", defined as "to offer up for sale"
. Another explanation is
that "prostituta" is a composition of (preposition) pro and
(verb) statuere (to cause to stand, to station, place erect). A literal

The Critical Study of legalisation of prostitution in India: A Comparative study with special Reference to UK & USA
Roberta Perkins and Francis Lovejoy, "Call Girls" , UWA Press, 2007, pg 2 - 3

translation therefore is: "to put up front for sale" or "to place
forward". The online Etymology Dictionary states, "The notion of 'sex
for hire' is not inherent in the etymology, which rather suggests one
'exposed to lust' or sex 'indiscriminately offered.'

In simple language Prostitution is the act or practice of providing
sexual services to another person in return for payment.
The person
who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute and
the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of
terms, including a "john" or tricks in North America and
punters in Britain or customer . Prostitution is one of the
branches of the sex industry. The legal status of prostitution varies
from country, from being a punishable crime to a regulated
In India as we know prostitution is a crime but it is quite different
from other crime. Most crimes involve a victim and a perpetrator. The
perpetrator typically looks for his victim and the victim avoids the
perpetrator as much as he can. In prostitution also there are victim and
perpetrator involved but it isnt clear who the perpetrator is and who
the victim is. Moreover, it is in the interest of both the prostitute and
the client to do their best to find one another. As a result, prostitution
operates just like a market: it is populated by buyers and sellers who
mutually benefit when they come together to perform a transaction.

History of Prostitution in India

Prostitute,Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2012-06-26
Shashank Shekhar,(Assistant Professor, RML National Law Uni versity Lucknow, INDIA), PROSTITUTION IN INDIA- LEGAL AND
Chicago booth, The Economics of Prostitution, Forbes India,

Prostitution is said to be one of the oldest profession in the world. It
existed across culture and times. In India, the practice of prostitution
has been prevalent since time immemorial. Vedic texts give accounts
of a mythic empire builder, Bharata and prove that the people were
acquainted with prostitution through references to loose women,
female vagabonds, and sexually active unmarried girls. The vedic
literature serves as a ware house of information on prostitutes and
prostitution. For instance, Rig Veda mentions both prostitutes and
illegitimate children. Vagabond priests and their female companion
have been described in atharvana veda as sacred prostitutes. Who
can forget the Hindu rituals of love in Vatsyayanas Kama Sutra.
The vedic words sadbarani refers to a women who offers sex for
In ancient India, there was a practice of having Nagarvadhus, "brides
of the town"(grooms) who were actually prostitutes. Famous
examples include Amrapali, state courtesan and Buddhist disciple,
described in Vaishali Ki Nagarvadhu by Acharya Chatursen and
Vasantasena, a character in the classic Sanskrit story
of Mricchakatika, written in the 2nd century BC by Sudraka. In
Mauryan Dynasty, Kautilya (Chanakya) the renown author of
arthasasthra wanted prostitution to be utilized by public exchequer.
The Mughal Empire (1526 -1857) also witnessed prostitution the
word 'mujra ' became common during this era. King Jahangir's harem
had 6,000 mistresses which denoted authority, wealth and power.
Even during the British era prostitution flourished the famous
Kamathipura, a red light area in Bombay, was built during this era for
the refreshment of British troops and which was later taken over by
Indian sex workers.

Prostitutes in different parts of India are known by different names
Devadasi, Devadiyal, Kannerikam, Basivi, Kanjaris, Jaunsar Bawars,
Harbedas, Bohiokojeers etc.
Originally, devdasis were celibate dancing girls used in temple
ceremonies and they entertained members of the ruling class. But
sometime around the 6th Century, the practice of "dedicating" girls to

Hindu gods became prevalent in a practice that developed into
ritualized prostitution. Devdasis literally means God's (Dev) female
servant (Dasi), where according to the ancient Indian practice, young
pre-pubertal girls are 'married off and given away' in matrimony to
God or Local religious deity of the temple.
The marriage usually
occurs before the girl reaches puberty and requires the girl to become
a prostitute for upper-caste community members. Such girls are
known as jogini '. They are forbidden to enter into a real marriage.
The system of devdasis started only after the fall of Buddhism and
records about them start appearing around 1000 A.D. [Bharatiya
Sanskruti Kosh, IV, 448]. It is viewed that the devdasis are the
Buddhist nuns who were degraded to the level of prostitutes after their
temples were taken over by Brahmins during the times of their
resurgence after the fall of Buddhism.

Cause of prostitution
The profession of trade of prostitution has existed in all civilized
country from earliest time. According to social research made so far
females are drawn in to prostitution for a variety of reasons. A study
of Kanpur prostitutes has revealed that though a majority of
prostitutes have taken their profession due to extreme poverty, but
there are many who have willingly adopted it after a series of love
exploits. Though economic factor is important but there are several
external causes, which induce/force persons, particularly women and
children to turn to prostitute for livelihood over which they have no
control. The most important causes which can be classified in the
following categories are:
(1) Economic Cause
(2) Social Cause
(3) Psychological Cause


(4) Biological Cause
(5) Religious and Cultural Cause
(6) Family and community oriented prostitution, i.e., Mathamma
community in Tiruvallur District, Baduva Community in
Jumbuliputhur in Dindigual District of Tamil Nadu, etc.
(7) Lack of sex education
(8) Inability to arrange marriage
(9) Prior incest and rape
(10) Early marriage and desertion
(11) Lack of recreational facilities, ignorance, and acceptance of
(12) Kidnapping and abduction
(13) Sale by parents and husbands, especially in certain areas of
Chittor, Bellampalli, Warangal etc in Andhra Pradesh and in Northern
states of U.P and M.P etc.
(14) Deceit and cheating by parents.
(15) Pornography including Soft and Strong literature and
(16) Problematic drug use and alcohol abuse.
(17) Debt and Cast system in society
Economic Cause
As we know economic compulsion constitutes the major factor in the
causation of prostitution. In India there are prostitutes who are
compelled to adopt prostitution to feed themselves and their family.

However, poverty is not the only economic factors, there are many
other factors which are economic.
(a)Poverty including Illiteracy and difficulty in finding job
(b)Under-age employment
(c)Immoral traffic of woman and children
According to me poverty leads crime in our society. Poverty factor is
the most responsible factor for prostitution. It follows a chain. Poverty
leads to illiteracy, illiteracy leads to unemployment and
unemployment leads to crime in society and prostitution is one of
crime. A poor woman who is unable to get any employment due to
illiteracy and who does not has superior must either starve to death or
earn her livelihood through prostitution. In India, due to poverty many
parents prostitute their own child.
(b)Under age employment
In India, due to poverty many females have to work in hotels, offices,
industry and shop at immature age. At this impressionable age they
are easily misled by lust seeker.
(c)Immoral traffic of woman and children
Many girls are kidnapped from their homes by pimps. They properly
train them in the art of prostitution and when these girl attain the age
of maturity they sold them.
(2) Social Cause
The social causes are extremely important factor in encouraging and
promoting prostitution.
The social factors are

(a)Family Cause (ill treatment by parents)
(b)Bad neighbour

(a)Family Cause (Ill and harsh treatment by parents at home)
A social research on prostitution reveals that most of the prostitutes
were connected with family troubles like Experience of violence, ill
treatment and abuse at home. Their parents were either living
separated or their family or relatives were so strained that as children
they were left to their own machinations and received no love and
affection from their parents. These children can be easily misguided
by lust seeker.
(b)Bad neighbour
It includes two causes.
# Truancy or exclusion from the rest of the peer group and poor
educational attainment
# The children living near brothels or in the company of immoral
persons become so used to seeing sex trade that they come to accept it
as normal. The children who get exposed to sex business want to have
the exhilarating experience at the first available opportunity.
(3) Psychological Cause
There are some psychological facts which tend the person towards
prostitution. A woman who is frigid becomes desperate and she tried
one after another because of frigidity. She has greater sex urge and
desire for variety in sexual life. Thats why she is unable to
experience pleasure and becomes a prostitute by profession.
(4) Biological Cause

The person born with defective sex organ or overactive glands may
feel compelled to sex gratification in bizarre manner.
(5) Religious and Cultural Cause (Social Custom)
In India there has been a religious sanction to prostitution. In South
India, (especially in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh) every family was
suppose to offer one daughter to the temple where apparently she
suppose to serve gods with total dedication. They were known as
(6) Family prostitutes
In prostitution business age is directly proportional to cost. So
after the age of 35 they are unable to earn their livelihood and feed
their family. In this case prostitutes daughter has to adopt this family
prostitution business. In Khakranagla village of Rajsthan Bedia caste
is known for family prostitution business

(7) Lack of sex education
Due to lack of sexual knowledge they have a lot of misconception
about sex and ultimately this misconception result in to prostitution.

Impact of Prostitution
The impact of prostitution at large seems to destroy its very ethos.
Besides bringing down the moral standards in our society it casts a
stigma on all the connected conniving persons to do this bad act. The
helpless victims usually are various persons of either sexes of any age
groups and even innocent children, spreading diseases such as STD,
HIV, AIDS. Besides inflicting serious harm and damages to the

A Rajsthan village where prostitution is tradition, July 9, 2006 Saira Kurup, TNN.

concerned victims through spread of infectious diseases, they also
make the persons involved potential agents for their spread.
Prostitution makes victims of many of those involved in it and of
those communities in which it takes place. Key concerns include.
Impact of Prostitution is following
(a)The nuisance caused to the neighbourhoods through noise, litter,
and harassment.
(b)Impact on Youth:-
The advertising of prostitution particularly through soliciting on
street and through internet has an adverse effect on young generation.
(c) The spread of sexual and drug transmitted infection and diseases
(d) Business of prostitution links with drug abuse /market.
(e) Prostitution link with criminality.
(f) Related violence including serious assault on those involved in
prostitution leading to disorder of Law and Order in our society.
(g) The negative impact of prostitutes on their family and it leads to
family prostitution in our society.
(h) The effect on the attitude of men to women and on gender
equality, more generally.
(i) Making some persons as professional of trafficking for the purpose
of commercial sexual exploitation.
(j) The increase stigmatization and social exclusion of those involved
in prostitution.
Types of Prostitutes
Street Prostitutes

Street prostitution is a form of prostitution in which sex worker call
for customers from a public place, most commonly a street but also
other public places such as parks. In easy word, a prostitute who
solicits on the streets is known as street prostitutes. Street-walking is
probably the most ancient of prostitute operating methods.
Bar Dancer
Bar girl is a sex worker who works as a hostess or dancer in bars to
provide company or sexual services to patrons.
Call Girl
A call girl is a sex worker who is neither visible to the general public;
nor does she usually work in an institution like a brothel although she
may be employed by an escort agency. The client must make an
appointment, usually by calling a telephone number. Greenwald said:
Call girls are independently operating prostitutes. In simple word, a
female prostitute with whom an appointment can be made by
telephone, usually to meet at the clients address is Call girl.
Religious Prostitutes
Sacred prostitution, temple prostitution, or religious prostitution is
a sexual ritual consisting of sexual intercourse or other sexual activity
performed in the context of religious worship, perhaps as a form
of fertility rite.
Escort Girl
An escort girl is just a dignified name for a prostitute. You can hire
her services at a rate and she will do anything for you, even have sex
with you. Use of internet by escort girl and customers is common.
Road side Prostitutes

Sex worker who solicits customer from road side is known as
roadside prostitute. They can be easily identified because they are
dressed in provocative manner. It is mostly found in United State of
Child Prostitutes
Child prostitution is the commercial sexual exploitation of children in
which a child performs the services of prostitution for remuneration in
cash or another form of retribution (gifts, food, clothes, etc.).The term
normally refers to prostitution of minor, or person under the legal age
of maturity.
Beat Prostitutes
They engaged in the prostitution as a matter of Principle, and in
accordance with an ethic which may or may not be rightly adhered to.
Some girls living members of the Beat Generation and subscribing
to the values characteristics of that sub-society.
Camp Followers
They are simply prostitutes who gather and operate where large
numbers of soldiers, and other servicemen are stationed, and who
serve principally the sexual needs of those males, although civilians
are seldom discriminated against. It is mostly found in United State of
The school girls living at home with their parents and perusing
prostitution as an evocation, sometimes for Sex sometimes for money,
probably most often for both. It is mostly found in United State of
Elderly Prostitutes

They are sex worker much older than oneself. For example; A young
man unconsciously equates the older woman with his mother; a young
girl equates an older man with her father. It is due to desire for a sex
partner much older than him/her and it is not uncommon aberration in
Present Scenario

Sex and the Cities: Cities not so Beautiful

Did you know that there are 20 million prostitutes, 35% of these are
under 18 (according to Human Rights Watch) and 1 million child
prostitutes in India?

Its everywhere. No part of the country is spared from this crime.
Either you visit remotest of the remote area (where you will brothels
running in mud huts) or you visit big cities (where you will find
brothels running in slum areas or big renowned hotels) the condition
is same but Ill present you the picture of few cities, Ive lived or
City, named as one of the best places to live for many times is also in
the grip of prostitution. No matter a few years ago, there was no such
specified area as Red Light Area in the city so beautiful but in recent
years Mani Majra (place just about 5km from Chandigarh) is
gradually becoming the G.B. road of Chandigarh. A survey conducted
by State AIDS Control Society reported there is 3200 sex workers in
the Chandigarh and believed that numbers could be 3 times the
reported ones.
City considered one of the holiest cities of the world and Mecca of
Hindus, is not spared from the flesh trade. Hindus come here for
salvation and take a dip at (un)holiest river Ganga. Exploitation of
sex-workers do happen the most on the tourist or religious
cities/places and apparently these cities are turning to sexual-tourism-
cities. On the name of God or enjoyment people do exploit the

women. Women even at old age when come to Varanasi for mukti or
women, who are left by their children at Varanasi for getting the
ultimate truth of life, end up as a beggar or are forced into sex-trade.
Maduahdiah is a famous place in Varanasi for hotbed activities and
where life comes to alive after daylight.
No doubt the place associated with the mischievous Hindu god
Krishna, who used to play with goppies (young girls), is considered
sacred by Hindus but condition as pathetic as it is elsewhere in India.
Ashrams in the Raman Reti area of Vrindavan are used by sex-
workers to rent the room via bribing the managers of Ashrams and get
their work done under the shadow of beloved God! Many of the sex-
workers believe Ashrams are the safest place to work out with clients.
Young girls coming to Vrindavan after being abandoned by their
husbands form a large source of prostitution in the city. Many
foreigners from America and Russia can also been seen in the
Mathura and Vrindavan areas, working as prostitutes. Many other
women who come here at Ashrams for the last days of life also end up
as beggars and remain vulnerable to always unsatisfied balls.
State famous for its Hindu temples and infamous for the devdasis
practice (temple prostitutes?) is also indulged in the flesh trade to
large extent. Districts bordering Maharashtra and Karnataka are
known as devdasis belt. Yes, devdasis practice is in effect since the
hundreds years and few years back anti-slavery campaigners showed
that still there are about 25,000 devdasis in the state Karnataka only.
Another survey revealed that about one-third of devdasis are under
the age of 14 and many of them ends up in brothels. One must also
not forget that most of the devdasis were/are degraded lower caste
womensince ancient times. On 13
June, 1936 at Mumbai, Dr B R
Ambedkar had asked to stop devdasis practice in the conference of
devdasis but its still alive in 21
century! Devdasis practice is simply
unethical, horrible practice and exploitation of women on the name of
god and I believe such exploitation must stop as soon as possible.
Other major cities such as Agra, Nagpur (Ganga Jamuna area), Pune
(Budhwar Peth area), Allahabad (Meerganj area), Meerut (Kabadi
Bazaar area) Hyderabad, Bangalore,Patna etc are also in the grip of

sex slavery. Not only big cities but every big/small cities are in the
grip of prostitution. For instance, In Bihar District like Munger,
Begusarai, patna, Muzzafarpur, etc are famous for prostitution. No
doubt that sex-trade and sex slavery is a biggest criminal industry in
India and sex-trafficking happens the most in India. According
to India Todays report there are about 3000 foreigner prostitutes in
Delhi capital of India.

Number of Prostitutes by Country
The number listed above is the estimated figure of how many
prostitutes there are in the world on the data listed below. The no. of
prostitutes by country is collected from open sources documents
published by security agencies, non- governmental organisations, and
media reports.

Country No. of prostitutes

1. China 5000000
2. India 3000000
3. Russia 1600000
4. South Korea 1200000
5. United States 1000000
6. Philippines 800000
7. Germany 400000
8. Thailand 250000
9. Brazil 250000 children
10. Bangladesh 200000
11. Taiwan 100000
12. United Kingdom 80000
13. Ukraine 67500
14. Kenya 50000 children
15. Vietnam 30000
16. South Africa 30000 children
17. United Arab Emirates 30000
18. Poland 19000
19. Mongolia 19000
20. Israel 17500
21. Mexico 16000 children
22. Costa Rica 15000
23. Switzerland 14000

24. Netherlands 7000
25. New Zealand 3500
26. Denmark 1400
27. Ireland 1000

Prostitution Revenue by Country (VALUE in U.S. DOLLARS).

Country Revenue

1. China $73 Billion
2. Spain $26.5 Billion
3. Japan $24 Billion
4. Germany $18 Billion (Legal Industry)
5. United States $14.6 Billion
6. South Korea $12 Billion
7. India $8.4 Billion
8. Thailand $6.4 Billion
9. Philippines $6 Billion
10. Switzerland $4.4 Billion (Legal Industry)
11. Turkey $4.0 Billion
12. Indonesia $2.25 Billion
13. Taiwan $1.84 Billion
14. Ukraine $1.5 Billion
15. Bulgaria $1.3 Billion
16. United Kingdom $1 Billion
17. Malaysia $0.9638 Billion ($963.8 Million)
18. Netherlands $0.800 Billion ($800 Million) (Legal Industry)
19. Italy $0.600 Billion ($600 Million)
20. Russia $0.540 Billion ($540 Million)
21. Cambodia $0.511 Billion ($511 Million)
22. Israel $0.500 Billion ($500 Million)
23. Ireland $0.326 Billion ($326 Million)
24. Czech Republic $0.200 Billion ($200 Million)
25. Jamaica $0.058 Billion ($58 Million)
26. Australia $0.027 Billion ($27 Million).

Legal provision global prospective

Legal in 50 (50%); Limited Legality in 11 (11%); Illegal in 39 (39%); Total: 100 (100%)
1. Afghanistan
2. Albania
26. Czech Republic
27. Denmark
51. Israel
52. Italy
76. Portugal
77. Romania

3. Angola
4. Antigua and Barbuda
5. Argentina
6. Armenia
7. Australia
8. Austria
9. Bahamas
10. Bangladesh
11. Barbados
12. Belgium
13. Belize
14. Bolivia
15. Brazil
16. Bulgaria
17. Cambodia
18. Canada
19. Chile
20. China (including Taiwan)
21. Colombia
22. Costa Rica
23. Croatia
24. Cuba
25. Cyprus
28. Dominica
29. Dominican Republic
30. Ecuador
31. Egypt
32. El Salvador
33. Estonia
34. Ethiopia
35. Finland
36. France
37. Germany
38. Greece
39. Grenada
40. Guatemala
41. Guyana
42. Haiti
43. Honduras
44. Hungary
45. Iceland
46. India
47. Indonesia
48. Iran
49. Iraq
50. Ireland
53. Jamaica
54. Japan
55. Jordan
56. Kenya
57. Korea, North
58. Korea, South
59. Kyrgyzstan
60. Latvia
61. Liberia
62. Lithuania
63. Luxembourg
64. Malaysia
65. Malta
66. Mexico
67. Netherlands
68. New Zealand
69. Nicaragua
70. Norway
71. Panama
72. Paraguay
73. Peru
74. Philippines
75. Poland
78. Rwanda
79. Saint Kitts and Nevis
80. Saint Lucia
81. Saint Vincent and
82. Saudi Arabia
83. Senegal
84. Singapore
85. Slovakia
86. Slovenia
87. South Africa
88. Spain
89. Suriname
90. Sweden
91. Switzerland
92. Thailand
93. Trinidad and Tobago
94. Turkey
95. Uganda
96. United Arab Emirates
97. United
Kingdom (including
98. United States
99. Uruguay
100. Venezuela

Prostitution (the exchange of sex for money) legal but regulated
Prostitution legal and not regulated, organised activities such as
brothels and pimping illegal
Prostitution illegal
No data

Legal provision on prostitution in other countries

Legalisation Varies from Region to region
With the exception of one state, Local jurisdictions have
legalised prostitution in specified areas.
Those involved have to register their names and undergo
weekly health checks.
(2) Belgium
Local approaches differ, although there is generally a level of
toleration of prostitution in larger cities.
Some areas have introduced an unofficial policy of registration
and health checks.
Exploitation of another through prostitution is an offence.

(3) Brazil
Prostitution itself is not illegal.
It is illegal to operate a brothel, rent a premise to sex workers,
exploit children or live in the earning of prostitution.
Female sex workers are generally tolerated but transgender and
male sex workers are made liable to prosecution by police.
(4) Canada
Prostitution is not illegal.
Communicating in public place for the purpose of engaging in
prostitution; providing directions, taking or showing someone to
a common bawdy-house, procuring or assisting or obtaining a
person for sexual service on behalf of a third party, and living

on the avails or benefitting from the prostitution of another.
person are offences.
(5) Denmark
Prostitution was legalised in 1999.
Keeping a brothel or gaining in other ways from prostitution is
an offence.
Purchasing the sexual service of a child under18 age is an
Street prostitution has ended, ever since sex workers were
allowed to advertise their services in1973.
(6) France
Prostitution is not illegal.
Touting on public highways and procuring are offences, as is
living on the earnings of a prostitute.

(7) Finland
Prostitution is not illegal.
But the selling of sex in public is an offence.
Pimping, promoting prostitution and keeping a brothel are
Purchasing the sexual service of a child under18 age is an
(8) Germany
Prostitution is legal, both on and off the street.
Some areas have been declared prostitution free zones.
Coercing prostitution under duress is an offence.
Pimping and promoting prostitution is an offence.

There is toleration and relatively civil policing.
(9) Greece
Prostitution is legal.
Prostitutes are required to register and to undertake health
check-ups twice a week.
Registered sex workers have citizenship rights.
(10) Holland
An area for soliciting, a working area and a drop-in shelter are
considered essential elements of a managed area.
Managed areas are regularly patrolled.
In other respects, the model varies from city to city. For
example, in Hereen, women are required to be licensed.
Drug dealing is officially prohibited in managed areas, but is
generally tolerated to avoid women with problematic drug use,
leaving work for elsewhere, where they can buy drugs.
Managed areas have become overcrowded following the
licensing of brothels, when migrant workers were forced onto
the streets- these areas are now closed, or planned to be closed.
(11) Italy
Prostitution is not illegal.
But Streetwalking, running a brothel and promoting
prostitution are offences.
(12) Kenya
Prostitution is not defined in the legal code.
A woman with many sex partners is highly stigmatized and
often regarded as a prostitute.
(13) Netherlands
Prostitution is legal.

Street prostitution confined to managed zones.
Brothels are legal, subject to a licensing regime, operated by
municipal authorities, governing the location, working condition
Receiving money from prostitution, involving a minor in
prostitution, or forcing a person to engage in prostitution are
offences, as is forcing another person to surrender the income
from prostitution.
Sex worker pay tax and are subject to local by- laws.
(14) New Zealand
Prostitution has recently been decriminalized.
Brothels are governed by usual employment, health and
regulation laws.

(15) Portugal
Prostitution is not illegal.
Offences apply only to trafficking.
(16) Peru
Brothels in urban areas are licensed and regulated by the states.
Sex-workers must be registered, carry identity cards, and are
subject to fortnightly check-ups.
(17) Senegal
It is illegal to aid, abet, procure live on the earnings of
prostitution or run a brothel.
Female sex workers must register, carry identity cards and
subject themselves to regular medical examinations.

(18) Spain
Prostitution is not illegal.
Forcing people into prostitution, the sexual abuse of minors and
trafficking in persons for sexual purposes is an offence.
(19) Sweden
Not equivalent offence to loitering or soliciting.
Government- funded outreach programmes exist to support
women to leave prostitution.
Paying, or offering to pay for sexual services on or off the
street is a criminal offence.
Selling sex has been decriminalised.
The focus is on support for women to quit prostitution.
(20) Switzerland
At a national level, Prostitution is legal.
At a regional level, health control and exclusion zones act as
measures to control or limit prostitution.
Prostitutes must be registered and have a valid work permit.
The promotion of prostitution and encouraging prostitution, are
(21) Turkey
Prostitution is legalised.
Operate a system of state-licensed brothels (genelevs).
Genelevs may only employ registered prostitutes.
Local areas impose restrictions on the administration of
genelevs and on registered prostitutes.
Although registration is gradually being dropped, Istanbul is
registering no new prostitutes and in other areas monitoring
arrangements have ceased.
Sex worker have joined a local trade union.

(22) Thailand
It is illegal to be a prostitute or to live on the earning of
prostitution but law is ignored and prostitution is widely
Sex tourism is indirectly allowed and bulk of states revenew
comes from prostitution.
(23) United States of America
Prostitution is illegal in all states but exception is Nevada.
In Nevada, prostitution is restricted to certain counties. It is
forbidden in counties with high populations, e.g. Las Vegas,
Reno and Lake Tahoe.
Nevada state law allows prostitution in brothels only, which are
registered with the police.
Prostitutes are required to provide finger prints and to go regular
health check up.
(24) United Kingdom
Sex work per se is not an offence.
Its related activities such as soliciting, procuring, brothel-
keeping, and living on the earning of prostitution are illegal.
Recently provision have been introduced criminalise men
looking for street sex-workers, i.e. to look and launch criminal
proceeding against these persons, especially men.
(25) Australia
Responsibility for prostitution law is developed to the eight
states, a large number of which enacted legislation over the last
two decades legalizing and decriminalizing prostitution.
Registered prostitute must be at least nineteen years of age.
They must undertake regular health checks.

They may be restricted to certain streets or may be totally
prohibited from working on streets at all.
Victoria and Queensland have licensed the owners and operaters
of brothels.
Source:-Immoral Traffic- Prostitution in India Written By:-V.Sithannan

National Law dealing with Prostitution
The laws governing sex work in India are entailed in the
Constitution of India, 1950; the Indian Penal Code 1860;
Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girl Act 1956 and the
Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956. The Constitution of India
apart from fundamental Right i.e., the equality provisions

provisions of freedom of association under Article 19(1),

right to life
and personal liberty under Article 21, guarantees prohibition of
trafficking of human beings and forced labour under Article 23.
Under Part IV of Directive Principles of State Policy: the State is
required to direct its policies towards securing, inter alia, that both
men and women have an equal right to an adequate means of
livelihood{under Article 39(a)}

that health and strength of workers
not be abused, and that citizens are not forced by necessity to
enter avocations unsuited for their age and strength,{Article 39 (e)}

promotion of the educational and economic interests of weaker
sections of the society, ensuring their protection from social injustice
and exploitation (Article 46) requirement of fostering respect for
international law and treaty obligations,(Article 51) obligation on the
state to raise the levels of standard of living (Article 47)

and the
renunciation of practices by citizens that are derogatory to the

The equality provisions are Articles 14 and 15 in Part III dealing with Fundamental Rights of the Constitution of
India,1950. Article 14 provides for equality before the law and equal protection of the laws; Article 15 prohibits the state
from discriminating on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, though it can make special provisions for
women, children, socially and educationally backward classes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

dignity of women {Article 51A(e)}

The Andhra Pradesh High Court
has also affirmed that these combined duties are placed on the state
and a corresponding right is placed on citizens including sex

The Indian Penal Code has at least 20 provisions
that make
trafficking punishable. For instance: -
Indian penal code (IPC) section 373:- Whoever buys, hires or
otherwise obtains possession of any person under the age of eighteen
years with intent that such person shall at any age be employed or
used for the purpose of prostitution or illicit intercourse with any
person or for any unlawful and immoral purpose ,of knowing it to be
likely that such person will at any age be employed or used for any
purpose, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for
a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 372:- Selling minor for purposes of
prostitution, etc. Whoever sells, lets to hire, or otherwise disposes of
any person under the age of eighteen years with intent that such
person shall at any age be employed or used for the purpose of
prostitution or illicit intercourse with any person or for any unlawful
and immoral purpose, or knowing it to be likely that such person will
at any age be employed or used for any such purpose, shall be
punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which
may extend to ten years, and shall be liable to fine.

P.N.Swamy Labour Liberation Front, Mahaboobnagar v/s Station House Officer, Hyderabad 1998 (1) ALD 755.

293, 294, 317, 339, 340, 341, 342, 354, 359, 361, 362, 363, 365, and 366, 370, 371, 372, 373, 375, 376,496, 498, 506,
509, 511 Indian Penal Code,1860.

Most of them deal with abduction for illicit intercourse {Section
366(B) IPC 1860} wrongful confinement after abduction {Section
368 IPC 1860}

inter alia. The primary piece of legislation dealing
with sex work is the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956
(hereinafter ITPA). The Act mainly makes pimping and other
activities punishable, which gives a commercial aspect to
prostitution that is likely to exploit the person of the prostitute.

The Act does not prohibit prostitution per se but it does prohibit
commercial activities of the flesh trade.

Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act - PITA
The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act or PITA is a 1986 amendment
of legislation passed in 1956 as a result of the signing by India of
the United Nations' declaration in 1950 in New York on the
suppression of trafficking. The act, then called the All India
Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (SITA), was amended to the
current law. The laws were intended as a means of limiting and
eventually abolishing prostitution in India by gradually criminalising
various aspects of sex work. The main points of the PITA are as
Sex Workers: A prostitute who seduces or solicits shall be
prosecuted. Similarly, call girls can not publish phone numbers to
the public. (imprisonment up to 6 months with fine, point 8)
Sex worker also punished for prostitution near any public place or
notified area. (Imprisonment of up to 3 months with fine, point 7)
Clients: A client is guilty of consorting with prostitutes and can be
charged if he engages in sex acts with a sex worker within
200 yards of a public place or "notified area". (Imprisonment of up
to 3 months, point 7) The client may also be punished if the sex

Manoj Wad and Sharayu Yadav, The legal framework of prostitution in India, Prostitution and beyond: an Analysis of
Sex Work in India (New Delhi: SAGE Publishers, 2008) 212.

Manoj Wad and Sharayu Yadav, The legal framework of prostitution in India, Prostitution and beyond: an Analysis of
Sex Work in India (New Delhi: SAGE Publishers, 2008) 212.

worker is below 18 years of age. (From 7 to 10 years of
imprisonment, whether with a child or a minor)
Pimps and Babus: Babus or pimps or live-in lovers who live off a
prostitute's earnings are guilty of a crime. Any adult male living
with a prostitute is assumed to be guilty unless he can prove
otherwise. (Imprisonment of up to 2 years with fine)
Brothel: Landlords and brothel-keepers can be prosecuted,
maintaining a brothel is illegal. (From 1 to 3 years imprisonment
with fine for first offence, point 3) Detaining someone at a brothel
for the purpose of sexual exploitation can lead to prosecution.
(Imprisonment of more than 7 years)
Procuring and trafficking: A person procures or attempt
to procure anybody is liable to be punished. Also a person who
moves a person from one place to another, (human trafficking), can
be prosecuted similarly. (From 3 to 7 years imprisonment with
Rescued Women: The government is legally obligated to provide
rescue and rehabilitation in a "protective home" for any sex worker
requesting assistance.
Public place in context of this law includes places of public
religious worship, educational institutions, hostels, hospitals etc.
A "notified area" is a place which is declared to be "prostitution-
free" by the state government under the PITA. Brothel in context
of this law is a place which has two or more sex workers (2a).
Prostitution itself is not an offence under this law, but soliciting,
brothels, madams and pimps are illegal.

The Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act, 1956 ("ITPA"), the main
statute dealing with sex work in India, does not criminalise
prostitution or prostitutes per se, but mostly punishes acts by third

parties facilitating prostitution like brothel keeping, living off
earnings and procuring, even where sex work is not coerced.
Section3 Punishment for keeping a brothel or allowing premises to
be used as a brothel.
(1)Any person who keeps or manages, or acts or assists in the
keeping or management of, a brothel, shall be punishable on first
conviction with rigorous imprisonment for a term of not less than
one year and not more than three years and also with fine which
may extend to two thousand rupees and in the event of a second or
subsequent to conviction with rigorous imprisonment for a term of
not less than two years and not more than five years and also with
fine which may extend to two thousand rupees.
(2)A any person who, -
(a) Being the tenant, lessee, occupier or person in charge of any
premises, uses, or knowingly allows any other person to use, such
premises or any part thereof as a brothel, or
(b) Being the owner, lessor or landlord of any premises or the agent
of such owner, lessor or landlord, lets the same or any part thereof
with the knowledge that the same or any part thereof is intended to
be used as a brothel, or is willfully a party to the use of such
premises or any part thereof as a brothel, shall be punishable on first
conviction with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two
years and with fine which fine which may extend to two thousand
rupees and in the event of a second or subsequent conviction, with
rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years
and also with fine.
(2-A) For the purposes of sub-section (2), it shall be presumed, until
the contrary is proved, that any person referred to in clause (a) or

clause (b) of that subsection, is knowingly allowing the premises or
any part thereof to be used as a brothel or, as the case may be, has
knowledge that the premises or any part thereof are being used as a
brothel, if, -
(a) A report is published in a newspaper having circulation in the area
in which such person resides to the effect that the premises or any
part thereof have been found to be used for prostitution as a result
of a search made under this Act; or
(b) A copy of the list of all things found during the search referred to
in clause (a) is given to such person.
Section5. Procuring, inducing or taking person for the sake of
(1) Any person who-
(a) Procures or attempts to procure a person whether with or
without his/her consent, for the purpose of prostitution; or
(b) Induces a person to go from any place, with the intent that
he/she may for the purpose of prostitution become the inmate of, or
frequent, a brothel; or
(c) Takes or attempts to take a person or causes a person to be
taken, from one place to another with a view to his/her carrying on,
or being brought up to carry on prostitution; or
(d) Causes or induces a person to carry on prostitution; shall be
punishable on conviction with rigorous imprisonment for a term of
not less than three years and not more than seven years and also
with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, and if any
offence under this sub-section is committed against the will of any

person, the punishment of imprisonment for a term of seven years
shall extend to imprisonment for a term of fourteen years:
Provided that if the person in respect of whom an offence
committed under this sub-section, -
(i) Is a child, the punishment provided under this sub-section shall
extend to rigorous imprisonment for a term of not less than seven
years but may extend to life; and
(ii) Is a minor; the punishment provided under this sub-section shall
extend to rigorous imprisonment for a term of not less than seven
years and not more than fourteen years.
So it can be seen that both the sections namely section 3 and section
5 punishes only the acts of the 3rd party and same does the other
sections in the Act and so new legislation shall be passed as to punish
the client who are visiting the prostitutes.

Provincial act dealing with prostitution
The various provincial acts, which were in vogue when the
suppression of Immoral Traffic Act 1956 came in to force in india, are
listed as follows:
The calcutta Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (13 of 1923)
The Bombay prevention of prostitution Act (11 of 1923)
The Madras Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (8 of 1930)
The Bengal Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (6 of 1933)
The Uttar Pradesh Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (8 of
The Punjab Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act, 1936
The Bihar Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (3 of 1948)
The Jammu & Kashmir Public prostitutes Registration Rules.

Constitutional Provisions dealing with prostitution in India
(1)Under Article 23 of the constitution, traffic in human beings is
prohibited and any convention of this provisions in an offence
punishable in accordance with law.
(2)Under Article 35, such a law has to be passed by the parliament, as
soon as may be after the commencement of constitution.
(3)Article 39(f) enshrines in the directive principles of state policy
that it is the duty of the state to prevent exploitation of children and
(4)Article 42 requires the state to enact/bring in suitable provisions
for securing just and humane working conditions as well as provide
for maternity benefits.
(5)Article 51 of the constitution of India requires the state to foster
respect for international law and treaty obligations.
(6)Article 51 A (e) of the constitution that it shall be the duty of every
citizen of India to renounce practice derogatory to the dignity of

Aspect of legalisation of prostitution in India
Three systems of prostitution-related laws have been formulated and

in legal strategies and these vary considerably both in
effectiveness and appropriateness.

These systems are classified as:
Criminalization, Decriminalization and Legalization


Jean D Cunha, Prostitution Laws: Ideological Dimensions and Enforcement Practices, 27(17) ECONOMIC AND
Frances M. Shaver, Prostitution: A Critical Analysis of Three Policy Approaches,

To Criminalize, is to Change the criminal sanctions in order to
control the social evil of prostitution and to countenance it by
amending the criminal law. Advocates for criminalization of
prostitution perceive prostitution as immoral and aims at its
eradication for which it bans prostitution per se, by criminalising the
activities of all categories of people involved in prostitution: brothel-
keepers, pimps, procurers, clients and prostitutes.
To legalize something is to "authorize" and "to make legal." When
prostitution is legalized in a country, prostitutes are recognized as
professionals. Therefore, they have to register or licensed as
professionals, which allows a heavy intervention of government
authorities over the industry. In countries like Germany, Australia,
Nevada, where prostitution is legalized, prostitutes are required to
submit fingerprints, photographs, and personal information to the
police station.
To decriminalize, other hand, is to "eliminate criminal penalties for or
remove legal restrictions against." Advocates for decriminalization of
prostitution argue that the system allows the prostitutes to exercise
their choice to sell their bodies with their voluntary consents to the
customers. Advocates for decriminalization of prostitution apply "the
same criteria to private consenting adult sex," to the principle of
regulating sex industry. Therefore, they argue that prostitution should
not be prohibited if it was performed in a privacy of one's home or
hotel, and the money is freely exchanged with consent. Advocates
also argue that decriminalization of prostitution will encourage
prostitutes to seek help from the police men since prostitution will no
longer be illegal. They also assert that decriminalization will reduce
crimes against the prostitutes.
There is a lot of criticism of the system of legalization.
(1)Licensing and monitoring may not help sex workers to live and

work with dignity.
(2)Regulation leads to a division between legal and illegal
sex workers, leading to further marginalisation of the latter.
(3)Legalization of prostitution is akin to legalizing child labour

and tantamount to slavery.
(4)It should not be legalised because there is a chance that the
unemployed women would take it as a career option.
(5)As we know there are different kinds of prostitution and one of
them is call girl whose identity is not publicly and due to regulation
they will be publicly seen as prostitutes.
(6)Legalising Prostitution will not be culturally accepted by Indian
(7) Legalising will give this exploitation a legal shelter.
(8)Most prostitutes are victims of the trafficking and thus they do
not see it as a profession.
(9) Prostitution is an exploitation of women and this commercial
sexual exploitation is a form of slavery and slavery cannot be
(10) It is a myth that legalising prostitution will stop pimps and
brothels. Fact is that it will benefits pimps and traffickers and not
According to Janice G. Raymond of the Convention against
Trafficking in Women (CATW), in her article

there are ten reasons

Janice G. Raymond, 10 Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution,[1].doc; See also Janice G. Raymond, Prostitution,
Trafficking and Traumatic Stress (Mellissa Farley ed., Binghamton: Haworth Press, 2003).

for not legalizing prostitution has been mentioned. These ten reasons
(1)Legalization of prostitution is a gift to pimps, traffickers and the
sex industry because it will give legitimacy to the consumers
(including third-party businessmen, brothel owners and pimps) of
sex who would buy sex and would not be beneficial to the sex
worker herself. Legalization will dignify only the industry but not
the sex worker.
(2)Legalization of prostitution and the sex industry promotes sex
trafficking as there would be no method to ensure that immigrant
sex-workers from other countries would voluntarily consent to their
being a part of the sex industry. There is no definite mean to identify
coercion or forced sex work.
(3)Legalization of prostitution does not control the sex industry. It
expands it. Prostitution as an industry would flourish with private
entrants coming into the business. This would in turn increase the
atrocities against which sex work was legalized in the first place. It
could open doors for other forms of sexual exploitation such as
phone sex, table-top dancing, peep shows, pornography, beer bars
and so on.
(4)Legalization of prostitution increases clandestine, illegal and
street prostitution because many sex workers would not be eligible
to register with the local authorities. Some could be minors, some
could be illegal migrants, and some could have diseases such as HIV
or other venereal diseases which would lead them to stay away from
legalization. Many sex workers would therefore move underground

and in turn contribute to illegal sex work and street prostitution.
There are many dangers of working on the street which include
rape, police abuse, and substance abuse also known as occupational
(5)Legalization of prostitution increases child prostitution as
research shows that after sex work was legalized in Netherlands
and Victoria, Australia, child prostitution has grown
exorbitantly and this leads to various forms of commercial sexual
exploitation of children
(6)Legalization of prostitution does not protect the women in
prostitution as there would be no safeguards against abuse during
sexual contact. Legalization would instead benefit the client rather
than the sex worker herself.
(7)Legalization of prostitution increases the demand for
prostitution. It encourages men to buy women for sex in a wider
and more permissible range of socially acceptable settings. When
such legal barriers disappear, the men forget their social and ethical
barriers and view women as just sexual merchandise and this leads
to commoditisation of women.

(8)Legalization of prostitution does not promote womens health
as it is necessary that the clients also need to be monitored for
Sexually Transmitted Diseases such as HIV/AIDS. With such
mandatory health check-ups in place only for the sex workers, there
is no guarantee that they will be safe from contracting any disease
during their work. The enforcement of a condom policy has also
failed as it is left to the sex worker herself to decide whether she

wants to practice safe-sex or not.
(9)Legalization of prostitution does not enhance womens choice in
terms of wages earned for their sex work. Most women do not make
a rational choice of sex work to be their profession. Many are victims
of trafficking and illegal pathways and land up in prostitution beyond
their will. So, legalization would in turn deny them their freedom.
(10)Women in systems of prostitution do not want the sex industry
legalized as this would increase the risks and humiliation that is
faced by the sex workers. They are definite that this would increase
violence against them and they do not consider this to be their
rightful profession as it destroys their life and health.
Some people opine that prostitution should be made legal. They
accept prostitution as a part of our society because the problem of
prostitution is inevitable. The benefit of legalisation of prostitution
in India will be that at least we will have a track record of sex
workers and give access to medical facilities, which can control the
spread of AIDS.
Merits of legalisation are:
(1)Legalisation of prostitution and the sex industry will stop sex
(2)Legalisation of prostitution will control the sex industry.
(3)Legalisation of prostitution will decrease hidden, illegal and
street prostitution.
(4)Legalisation of prostitution will promote the women in
prostitution as they will have rights.
(5)Women in systems of prostitution want the sex industry legalized

as they are the one who suffers the most as they do not have any
(6)Legalisation of prostitution will promote womens health as they
can have easy access to medical facilities which they do not have
when it is illegal.
(7)Recognizing prostitution as an economic activity, thus enabling
women in India to obtain working permits as sex workers
(8)Legalisation of prostitution will promote the women in
prostitution as they will have rights.
(9)The ILO suggests that by including prostitution as an economic
sector, poor countries of South East Asia can benefit economically
through the revenues generated by the industry.
(10)The social stigma regarding prostitution will fade away after
legalization or decriminalization, yet the shame of those in
prostitution remains after legalization or decriminalization.If
brothels are to be legalized, the employees should be protected like
any other workers under the appropriate provincial labour standards
legislation. Regulation going beyond this minimum is likely to
contribute to the continued stigmatization of prostitutes and to the
institutionalization of yet another working ghetto for women.
Prostitution is an enormous and important issue in India and around the globe. This
research paper has attempted to explore a unique angle in prostitution by exploring how
sex workers view the city of Kolkata. While sex workers in Kolkata are a heterogeneous
group, a number of common aspects of experience exist. In many ways, sex work
defines how sex workers experience the city of Kolkata. For many women, entering sex
work is simultaneous to a new start in city life. For these women, the experience of sex
work is intimately tied to migration. Additional common experiences include perceptions
of work alternatives and feelings of exploitation, harassment and abuse.

The sex workers experience of city life is shaped by stigma and patriarchal social norms
pertaining to womens role in society and acceptable behavior for women and girls. The
stigma women experience is external (in their interactions with individuals within and
outside the sex work industry), and is internalized (in how these women perceive
themselves and their position in society). Certainly, many women enter sex work as a
direct result of failures of the patriarchal system to protect them and maintain them.
An important element of the sex workers experience is their notion of agency. While it is
clear that a number of women believe that their circumstances and profession are
beyond their control, groups such as the DMSC are active in Kolkata and represent an
outlet for women to engage society, gain power, and fight for the rights and needs they
see are important.
It is important to note that the experiences of female sex workers in Kolkata are not
unique. Gross human rights abuses, such as trafficking and sexual slavery, exist around
the world, and in every country. These issues represent a major challenge to the
universal rights of every individual and have been (unsuccessfully) addressed by global
organizations including the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the
International Monetary Fund[152]. Despite measures being made by all these
organizations, little progress has been made to prevent involuntary and unwanted entry
into sex work by millions of individuals.
To date, sex work in research has mainly been presented and funded in relation to
HIV/AIDS and other health consequences of the trade. While this research is valuable, it
is by no means sufficient to address the issue of sex work. Aspects of sex work,
including human rights abuse, and the economic and social development of women, are
important fields that need to be addressed in greater detail in academic fields such as of
history, social science and policy planning.
Regardless of their status or experience, few (if any) women enter sex work in order to
deviate from, or to openly defy social norms. The women interviewed by this author
report an overwhelming desire to have alternatives to sex work, to be able to provide
opportunities for their children to exit poverty, and for the basic joys of protection,
security and social value. Moving forward, sex work advocates, NGOs, and
governmental agencies must work together to assist women (and men) in sex work.
Successful programs, like the DMSC, need to analyzed, funded and expanded. Legal
measures, such as punitive laws need to be reassessed so that women are not
punished for their circumstances. Greater efforts must be made to include women in the
economic and social development of India.

Steps that should be taken in order to fight with prostitution:
# Formal education should be made available to those victims who
are still within the school going age, while non-formal education
should be made accessible to adults.
# The Central and State Governments in partnership with non-
governmental organizations should provide gender sensitive market
driven vocational training to all those rescued victims who are not
interested in education.
# Rehabilitation and reintegration of rescued victims being a long-
term Recruitment of adequate number of trained counsellors and
social workers in institutions/homes run by the government
independently or in collaboration with non-governmental
# Awareness generation and legal literacy on economic rights,
particularly for women and adolescent girls should be taken up.
# Adequate publicity, through print and electronic media including
child lines and women help lines about the problem of those who
have been forced into prostitution.
# Culturally sanctioned practices like the system of devadasis, jogins,
bhavins, etc. which provides a pretext for prostitution should be
addressed suitably.