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Legalize prostitution in India
The Indian Government introduced the Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (SITA) in 1954. Passing of this legislation may have fulfilled the responsibility set out by the International Convention by the same name signed at New York on the 9th May, 1950; however, it criminalized a profession practised over the centuries; and, made it an avenue requiring connivance of law enforcement agencies and thus subjected this profession to Extortion by Police.

We all know that prohibition raised the cost of liquor, since the cost of evasion from the authorities had to be factored as well as also the pay-offs to the police. Criminalizing prostitution has had a similar effect on its easy and cheap availability to masses. Thus, enactment of SITA, reduced the easy availability of safer, healthier 'Prostitutes', with much lesser possibility of transmitting Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

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In any case society always believed that allowing women to indulge in Prostitution was an essential evil which was meant to subsume the poison of sexual lust of the society. Only an outright dumb person will say that post- SITA, the Practice of Prostitution has stopped. The newspapers are flooded with advertisements of Escort/Massage Parlour Services which are nothing but means of running Prostitution under a pseudo name and such agencies/parlours must be having the tacit involvement and even protection of Local Police Authorities.

The Government has in the year 2005, enacted Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA); Wherein, it has very subtly provided 'Rights' to women who were earlier known as Concubines / Keeps / Rakhails , by coining a new term "Live-In-Relationship"; thus legalizing their profession. On the one hand, whereas, this Law has provided a legal status to Concubines / Keeps / Rakhails and even their off springs out of this "marriage like relationship"; on the other hand it has denied a Legally wedded wife and her legal off springs a right to safeguard their social, financial  and inheritable property rights legally; because, against such a woman, who is living in marriage like relationship, no complaint can be lodged by legally wedded, nor she can charged under any of the sections of crimes under IPC, least of all adultery.

Recently, a court has ordered a man to live with his wife as well his “Rakhail”, 15 days each; Although, in another Judgment, Apex Court has refused the admissibility of grant of Maintenance to a ‘live-in-partner’.

Thus, this new provision has provided a legitimate tool in the hands of the beautiful 'Menkas' (Akin to Mythological Menka, who was sent by Lord Indira to sabotage the Yagnas of Sage Vishwamitra by captivating him by her beauty and seduction) albeit the socialites, might see a profitable angle in homing on to men wielding power and affluence, with an hidden agenda to snare away Rights of Legally wedded wife and children or may be acting as a stooge, as part of ploy of vengeance and vendetta by competitors / opponents.

These Menakas may not be having an iota of any over powering affection towards that married man but only with ulterior objective.

Regrettably there are a sizeable number of women in Indian Society who for meeting their basic human needs such as food and shelter are constrained to depend on “survival sex” as a means to sustain their families. Such women have not been provided any legal sanctity to their profession. Yes, "Prostitution" is as much a ‘profession’ for such destitute women as any other profession.

In other professions, the empowered women encash their asset of brain where as these improvised women who do not enjoy the benefit of education, have nothing else but to encash their physical body to earn money to have food and shelter. Thus the denial to practice this profession infringes upon their fundamental 'Right to Life'. Easy availability of safe sex with such women legally will reduce the number of men moving away from natural sex.

Prostitution is also known to be the oldest profession. “Arthashastra’ written by Kautilya, around the 4th and 3rd century before Christ, mentions about it. Even Chanakya had propounded “Providing sexual entertainment to the public using Ganika was an activity not only strictly controlled by the State but also one which was, for the most part, carried on in state-owned and controlled establishments. Women who lived by their "rupa" , could, however, entertain men as independent practitioners; these could have been allowed to practice in smaller places which could not support a full-fledged state establishment.

A third type of women of pleasure, mentioned in a few places, is pumsachali, meaning concubines/ Rakhails. We all know that in Bengal, soil from a prostitute’s door is integral part of 18 types of soils that are collected to bathe the deity during the Durga Puja celebrations. This is an act of expression of gratitude by the wider section of women towards the prostitute who ‘subsumes the poison of society’ thereby permitting the rest of women to live a life of dignity and in a happily married homely life.

It is widely known that some of the convicts , charged with crime of rape and murder, have candidly admitted in their revelations before the courts that they lost their senses to overpowering desire for sex . We have seen how much of media coverage was provided to the public outcry post 16th December 2012, heinous act of gang rape of Nirbhya , day to day reporting of Trial Proceedings and also to the award of Death Sentence by the Trial Court. Without meaning to condone their act of heinous crime in any way, one can say that maybe, these men were also driven by uncontrolled extreme desire/lust.

Certainly, the message of deterrent punishment of 'Death Sentence' to these accused has gone loud and clear to all segments of society. Also the enactment of new Laws of Sexual Harassment to combat this menace of Rapes, gang rapes and murders. Unfortunately, all the media coverage has had little or no impact on the psyche of the improvised / marginalized young men of the society, WHO, due to depravity are still rampantly indulging in these acts of rapes/ gang rapes/murders. The newspapers are still filed with such news on daily basis.

The Government need to ask itself the question, 'What more needs to be done so as to make Indian roads safer for women?"

Whereas the Profession of Concubines ( Live-in-Partners) who serve the higher echelons of society has been legalized by enactment of PWDVA and that they also have been provided legal rights of residence; the need to address the needs of wider male-section also needs to be addressed. Well therefore the , answer lies in legalizing century old traditional profession of 'Prostitution", which will increase the outreach of availability of services of safe and health sex at an affordable cost to the customer.

Therefore, Government must legalize prostitution. Kautilya had prescribed 2500 years ago, that the State must establish an elaborate system of regulating the prostitute’s health. After legalization, the sex business ought to obtain from the municipality a license, certifying that it has fulfilled the legal requirements to operate.

The Municipal laws have a stringent health regime in place and sex professionals are bound to obtain certificates of good health in order to continue their practice. So as to obviate harassment at the hands of state controlled police force, NGOs maybe given the responsibility of monitoring and ensuring the health and provisions of law.

Courtesy Internet, all the societies of the world are integrated with respect to information and thought processes. Thus, it wont be out of place to refer to some studies abroad. Where prostitution is legal in the USA, in the year 2010 only 9.2 rapes per Lakh.

As against this in Netherlands, where it is prohibited, it is an astounding three times number of 27.3 per lakh. Director of the American Bar Association's (ABA) for Child Custody Pro Bono Project Linda M. Rio Reichmann, is reported to have stated that: "A study conducted in Queensland showed a 149% increase in the rate of rape when legal brothels were closed in 1959."

Therefore, to get Prostitution Legalised ought to be Priority number one in the list of activities by National Commission for Women.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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