On one hand, there are countries like New Zealand, Austria and Brazil where prostitution is completely legal and regulated while countries like Saudi Arabia, China and Nepal have completely criminalized prostitution. India falls under neither category.
In India, the oldest profession in the world can only be practised privately, though women suffer at the hands of pimps and in brothels which are illegal establishments. But now, one state has taken a firm stand regarding the exchange of sex for money.
Andhra Pradesh will become the first state in India to criminalise those who pay to have sex. The government is all set to criminalise those who pay to have sex in the brothels. According to Reuters, the Andhra Pradesh government took this step as part of a crackdown on the sexual slavery of women and children.
What Andhra Pradesh govt is doing to curb prostitution:
The Andhra Pradesh government appointed a panel of legal experts and campaigners to study anti-trafficking laws make recommendations within 60 days in order to criminalize buyers of sex.
Sunitha Krishnan, a panel member, told that the criminal charges may be applied to those who both continue to practice prostitution as well the buyers of sex. According to her, the buyers are the ones creating the demand and girls will continue to be sold until buyers are criminalised.
While talking to TheNewsMinute, the state government’s commissioner for women’s development and child welfare H Arun Kumar told that “people who purchase sex go scot-free.”
The current state of prostitution in India:
There are 20 million sex workers presently working in India, however, the unofficial number is expected to be much higher than this. India has the below laws related to prostitution:
- Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act (PITA) 1956 — criminalizes those who purchase sex
- Section 372 and 373 of Indian Penal Code — criminalizes the selling and purchase of minors for the purpose of prostitution