Sex work not illegal? About Supreme Court’s landmark judgement regarding Sex Workers

Sex work not illegal? About Supreme Court’s landmark judgement regarding Sex Workers

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The Supreme Court of India declared sex work to be a "profession" and ruled that sex workers are entitled to dignity and equal protection under the law. As a result, authorities must treat sex workers with respect by refraining from intervening and prosecuting adult and consenting sex workers.


Is it true that volunteer sex work is "not illegal"? 


According to reports, the Centre has voiced concerns over a Supreme Court panel's suggestion that sex workers should not be imprisoned, penalised, harassed, or victimised since consensual sex work is "not criminal" and only operating a brothel is prohibited.


Should sex workers be detained and prosecuted in brothel raids?


“Whenever there is a raid on any brothel since voluntary sex work is not illegal and only running the brothel is unlawful, the sex workers concerned should not be arrested or penalised or harassed or victimised," the panel said.


 What should the police do if a sex worker reports sexual assault or any other crime? 


Any sex worker who is a victim of sexual assault should be provided with all facilities available to a survivor of sexual assault, including immediate medical assistance, in accordance with law, it said.


Should a sex worker's kid be taken away from her because of her profession? 


“A sex worker's child should not be taken away from his or her mother just because she works in the sex industry. The court also stated that if a youngster is seen living with sex workers, the police should not assume that the child is a victim of human trafficking.”


Should sex workers be involved in the process of formulating reforms for themselves?


“All decision-making procedures involving sex workers and/or their representatives, including planning, devising, and implementing any policy or programme for sex workers, or formulating any change/reform in the laws relating to sex work, must include sex workers and/or their representatives. This can be accomplished by involving them in decision-making authorities/panels and/or soliciting their input on any issue that affects them.”


A Bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, B.R. Gavai, and A.S. Bopanna reviewed 10 recommendations given by a five-member panel it constituted in July 2011 on the rehabilitation of sex workers in an order dated 19 May. The panel, led by senior advocate Pradip Ghosh, was tasked with advising the court on three issues: human trafficking prevention, rehabilitation of sex workers who wish to leave the industry, and how to ensure conditions that allow sex workers to live with dignity, as guaranteed by Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Indian Constitution (check).


Edited By: Admin
Published On: May 29, 2022