Posted in Prostitution Laws

They are Humans before Prostitutes- But, WHO CARES!!

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[1]. 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[2]– 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[3].

Right to life[4] – 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[5]– 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[6] – 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.


[2] Article 14


[4] Article 21

[5] Article 19(1)(d)

[6] Article 21A




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.


Posted in Criminal Law, Prostitution Laws

Prostitutes, Prostitution and Prostitution Laws in India

Think of a day when you wake up and look into the mirror, trying to look for the purpose of your existence, your identity, you know what you are, yet you try collecting every other thing that can mark your importance. Then it strikes to you, that your identity has become a corpse. You have been discarded from the group of persons holding the status of a person. To the society, you are no more respectable or someone to show gratitude for. You are alive with a dead inner self.  You have been used again and again by others for their personal pleasure.  You have become an aphrodisiac.  Living yet dead, busy yet idle, crowded yet alone. Yet you confront it, live with it, every day – every night; because this is how you can make both ends meet. Knowingly or unknowingly you are stuck in a vicious circle about which all you know is that IT GOES ON!

“Stolen people, stolen dreams.”

This is the story of every girl, every woman, every lady who is brought into this business of prostitution, to satisfy the greed of some men, whose lust for sex and money never ends.

Prostitution means the sexual exploitation or abuse of person for commercial purposes and the expression prostitute shall be construed accordingly.  It is one of the oldest and prevalent trades in India.

Prostitution is illegal in India and legal consequences can entail a prosecution, which may culminate in an imprisonment of up to 7 years. Although several debates on its legalisation are ongoing since time immemorial because due to its illegal status women who have entered this trade find it very hard to report abuse, which is very common.

Prostitution and related acts are governed by the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act 1956, the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act, 1956, The statute primarily deals with sex-work in India and does not penalise prostitution or prostitutes per se. Although the act gives the power to punish acts by third parties facilitating prostitution like brothel keeping, living off earnings and procuring, even where sex-work is not coerced.

Section 372 and 373 of the Indian Penal Code, also directly deal with prostitution.

Section 372 of the Indian Penal Code: Selling minor for the 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 used or employed for the purpose of prostitution 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.

Section 373 of the Indian Penal Code: Buying minor for purpose of prostitution, etc. : Whoever buys, hires or otherwise obtains possession of any person under the age of eighteen years with the 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 or 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.

According to an estimate, there are around 2.8 million prostitutes in India living a life no less than dead. As if they are not women but a mere sex toy.

“Call a jack a jack, call a spade a spade. But always call a whore a lady.”[1]

[1]Patrick Rothfuss




Aishwarya Himanshu Singh is a final year law student. An aspiring researcher who has a deep love for writing. With her first publication at the age of 13, she believes a pen is mightier than the sword. Having authored more than 50 papers she is all set for the ‘writing for a change’ programme.