Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tackling the problem of prostitution

SUBHASHREE KISHORE,THE HINDU 11 NOVEMBER 2007

Amendment to the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act 1956 is in the making for over two years. Going by the modern standards of performance evaluation, it seems the voting public are getting too little work done by their representatives. The representatives are indecisive on what steps to take.

Prostitution per se is not illegal or criminalised in India but soliciting and trafficking is. The justification for such a dichotomy is as usual safely nestled in age-old beliefs, practices and religion. The law aims to protect the victim without punishing the perpetrators. Prostitution as a means of livelihood is exploitative, repressive and inhuman.

One amendment being heavily debated is whether the client — in effect the demand side — should be punished. Sweden has had some success in bringing down trafficking when it criminalised buying sex. Britain is also considering the move seriously. The argument advanced against this in India is that it would lead to more surreptitiousness and place the victims further at the mercy of police.

Sadly the poorer (weaker) argument is that it would affect livelihood of the sex workers. Does it mean that the government is there only to wring its hands and watch helplessly as people are traded like commodities, forced into a ‘profession’ which can hardly be called that?

Amnesty schemes for tax evaders or defaulters pave the way to legalise their illegal wealth. Why not a scheme to rehabilitate these workers to help them break the vicious cycle of poverty and coercion which condemns them to a life of disease and disrespect?

The entire approach is heavily tilted towards the effect and not the cause. Instead of catering to the ‘vote bank’ minorities, we should address this community which has little voice and a lot to complain about. This is a group which cannot organise itself, burn buses or issue threats to disrupt public life. A realistic solution would be alternative employment and focused provision of basic facilities.

The high profile campaign for the prevention of AIDS can at least in part be diverted to addressing the circumstances which force hapless people into sex trade.

Prostitution is still treated as some ‘foreign’ disease whereas it is, and must be recognised as, a ‘man made’ social evil. The policy and legal framework is to treat it and hardly to root it out. We never find any political leader or public figure taking a stand asking the youth to practise restraint or fidelity. If the ‘supply’ side is too dark and difficult to control, at least the demand can be attacked.

India is blessed with stability and order compared with countries torn by civil war, political instability and the like. It just requires the administration to be committed and interventionist. But given the approach of the establishment which rushes to ban bar dancers rather than bars, maybe it is too much to ask.

We have seen governments steamroll opposition from environmentalists, workers, coalition partners when it comes to economic and political agenda such as SEZs, privatisation or land acquisition but hardly are proactive when it comes to the unfinished social agenda. We have places categorised as ‘red light’ areas beyond the reach of the long arm of the state. Perhaps we can even have areas demarcated for fake currencies, drugs, arms, antiques and so on.

The absence of social anger and condemnation despite having full knowledge of its stigma and consequences remains an enigma. Why do we hesitate to say that, in the first place, it is wrong? Society needs values and they should not be contingent on convenience, laws and individual preference. Larger social interest cannot be held ransom to individual immorality.

Labels:

3 Comments:

At 1:43 PM , Blogger Tool smith said...

Many dance bars in Mumbai are still operating with live orchestra; and waitresses are

there to serve the food and drinks. Apart from these waitresses there are few more girls can bee seen standing or talking to

customers, these girls are the actual bar-girls who used to perform dance before the ban on dance bars.

Many of the girls are now entered into flesh-trade; there are several bars in

Mumbai where there are hotel rooms/lodges exactly

above the bar.
Here I have found a snap of such bar, click

here.
.

Trafficking is the major issue originated by such kind of

joints.
Girls are trafficked from Bangladesh, kolkata, and from some parts of Delhi, and Rajasthan. Girls from poor family and easily accept the offer to work

in Mumbai and finally land up into the hands of these bars. Most of the times there is a middle-man; who eats almost all the money

earned by the girls in the beginning.


All this can be stopped if the Govt. can

remove ban on dance-bars and allow the dance performance.
This should be accompanied with some strict rules about the

time-limit, code of conduct, and some security to the bar-girls. All the girls working in such bars should undergo scanning to find

out all the possible causes of trafficking and the people responsible for it.

 
At 11:21 PM , Anonymous generic viagra said...

I think that prostitution is a situation that is going to prevail forever, prostitution has always existed, even form ancient times.

 
At 3:13 AM , Anonymous pharmacy said...

Many dancers and players are still operating with live orchestra; and waitresses are youth to practise restraint or fidelity. If the ‘supply’ side is too dark and difficult to control, at least the demand can be attacked.

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home