Who are they?
These are the humans who offer their body for any kind of sexual activity in exchange of money or any other kind of payment. According to a conventional dictionary meaning prostitute is someone who has dedicated their life and “organ” to make people happy, in return for money. In other words, we can say that prostitutes are the human beings who are into the field of prostitution.
Now the question arises as to what is prostitution? Prostitution is a social problem or we may say that it is a great social evil. Unfortunately, the eradication of such an evil cannot be achieved by legislation alone, as it requires the co-operation of citizens of the state as well. But the co-operation of citizens can be achieved when the general moral level of the community rises to an exalted idealistic level. And, when the moral level can be raised then only the practice of prostitution can be brought down or effectively reduced.
An example of this level is evident from the dialogue between King Ashwapati and the Six Brahmins in one of the Upnishads, which is as follows:
“In my kingdom, there is no thief, no person indulging in dirty & bad actions, no drunkard, no Brahmin who does not keep and worship fire, no person who is not learned, no man of loosed morals – from where will come any woman of loose morale?’’
But as realists, we are not prepared to recommend such radical changes, because we fear that legislation based on such idealism may prove to be an exercise in futility. Besides this, it may go beyond the scope of the Act. The Act as is shown by title is confined to “suppression” of immoral traffic, and a measure prohibiting prostitution would travel far beyond the present scope of the Act.
Rights of these ‘Humans’
Not only in this heading but prostitutes are always kept aside, treated differently and not only this, their constitutional and other rights also differ. Instead, they don’t have any rights.
This can be said so, because when we talk about any person’s fundamental rights we talk about the right to life, right to equality, right to a healthy environment, right to education, freedom of movement and so on.
But, when we talk about a prostitute’s rights we tend to forget that they also have these rights. This can be said so because of the following:
Right to equality– A prostitute is never seen with the eyes of equality. She/ he is always seen with an indifferent attitude and treated badly by the society and they have to face the social exclusion. It is obvious that most people do not opt for this profession on their own. It is their situations and circumstances which compels them to enter this profession and these situations may be due economic distress of the family, bad company ill treatment by parents, social customs, prior incest and rape, early marriage and desertion, lack of recreational facilities, ignorance and acceptance of prostitution, psychological causes, etc.
Right to life – These people never live a healthy and dignified life. They are always subject to rejection by people. For example- if a prostitute wants to get out of the vicious circles of prostitution they are not able to get out. But somehow if they get out of it, they find it very difficult to find a suitable job, friends and a family for themselves. Moreover, they are not able to have a dignified life.
Right to health– Prostitutes are always prone to sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s). But they are never able to get the proper treatment because they are always under a fear of harassment by doctors and outside world.
Right to a healthy environment– Every citizen of India is given the right that he/she shall have a healthy environment. Even according to the labour laws they can oppose their employee if their employee makes them to work in dark, stingy, unclean and unhealthy place but it can be usually seen that a sex-worker lives in these conditions only.
Freedom of movement– This is the most important aspect of a person’s life. All the citizens of India have the freedom of movement as per the Article 19 of Indian Constitution. But, a prostitute or a sex- worker does not have this right. In the case of State of U.P. v. Kaushalya Devi [AIR 1964] it was held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court that right of movement of prostitutes may be restricted.
Right to education – These people are uneducated (in most of the cases) and because of their being into this profession, chances of their being getting educated are rare. Moreover, not only them, their children are often subject to discrimination and are not able to get admission in the schools because their parents are in a wrong profession.
 Article 14
 Article 21
 Article 19(1)(d)
 Article 21A
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tesu Gupta is a third-year B.A.LLB(H) student of Jagan Nath University, Haryana. She has participated in many moot court competitions and paper presentations. Passionate about law and legal research, her area of interest is Arbitration. She has won the intra-university moot court competition and received the ‘Best Presenter’ award.