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Legalisation of prostitution will boost trafficking: activists

Oct 29, 2014

Activists feel that instead of controlling human trafficking in India, the proposed legislation will provide a legal framework to embolden it.

New Delhi: Women’s rights activists are expressing concern and discontentment over National Commission for Women’s (NCW) proposal to legalise prostitution in India. They feel this decision will not only strengthen human trafficking nexus in India but will also push more and more poor women into prostitution.

Dr Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research and Founder President, WomenPowerConnect, says “Legalisation of prostitution goes against International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) definition of ‘decent work’ and is considered as selling sex under ‘distress’.

Instead of criminalizing the buying and selling of sex, we are giving more power to those who exploit sex workers and treat women/girls/children as commodities that can be sold in a market.

Moreover, countries which have indeed legalized prostitution (example: Thailand) have witnessed significant increase in sex trade and are promoted as sex tourism destinations. It will be blasphemous to project India in such a light.”

In order to take up the matter with the Government on a priority basis, CSR plans to write to NCW as well as the Prime Minister to urge them to take a deeper look into the problem and suggest reforms that may de-criminalise the sex workers and protect them from further exploitation.

"Although we appreciate NCW's intent of coming up with protective reforms for women in this trade, legalising prostitution is not the answer," further adds Dr Kumari.

Human trafficking is one of the major problems in India especially in the state of Jharkhand. Young girls are trafficked from neighboring Nepal to India and Karnataka stands as the third state in India for human trafficking. Kids especially girls and young women, mostly from Northeast are taken from their homes and sold in faraway states of India for sexual exploitation and to work as bonded labour by the agents who lure their parents with education, better life, and money for these kids.

Agents do not send these kids to school but sell them to work in brick kilns, carpentry units, as domestic servants, beggars etc. Whereas girls are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Even these girls are forced to marry in certain regions where female to male sex ratio is highly disturbed.

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