Prostitution is regarded as the oldest profession of all time. Sex workers are also referred to as Tawaif or Devadasi. The industry is worth more than $100 billion globally and its history can be traced back to 4000 years back to ancient Babylon. There are over 20 million sex workers in India if we are to judge by the recent human rights watch report. The report asserted that most of the sex workers entered the industry when they were less than 18 years. The topic prostitution has a significance in the way that it historically represents women oppression. Consent and free choice on being a sex worker will be evaluated by focusing on the capacity of the human beings, more problematically of women, to choose what they really want to be. History of prostitution will be briefly given in this paper, to create s historical background of prostitution profession. Main argument of this paper is that prostitution is not in general is not something desirable for a women and “so-called” consent on prostitution is not a complete consent and prostitution cannot be evaluated apart from its historical development. Already, a high degree of legal ambivalence and contradictions cloud prostitution laws in India. There are certain rights guaranteed by united nations for the protection of prostitutes. Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees the Right to life and personal liberty under which the rights of prostitutes are also included and also right to equality to treat them equally. As prostitution is considered as a sensitive topic in India there are several laws made in relation to punish the felonious practice of prostitution. Laws such as Suppression of Immoral Traffic act, 1956. This paper also critically analysis the Immoral Traffic Prevention act, 1956 in consonance with Indian Penal Code provisions and Constitution provisions. Indian penal code asserted certain provisions relating to prostitution such as Section 372 and 373. * Legislative and judicial approach towards sex workers. There are certain judicial pronouncements to legalize prostitution and not to punish the prostitute if she is a consenting party as well. This paper also focuses on the cases where the court held that prostitution is not illegal.
International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 4, Page 662 - 676DOI: https://doij.org/10.10000/IJLMH.113369
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