Should Brothels be legalized?

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Once me and my friend ventured on to the streets of Colaba just to kill boredom and explore the city, since we were adults I did not really think it was necessary to call home and inform them about the change of plans besides there was nothing that I could not go home and explain. Initially we were going to wander on the streets of Parle but it did not work fine with us hence, we changed the plan. It caused me a great deal when i uttered the words “i went to colaba.” to my dad. He was furious and he grounded me for a week. And he revealed something that i was not aware of,” it’s the Red light area of the town and brothels operate there secretly.” he said. Now what is so secret about it if people know it already i wondered.  He also said,” men there will drag you in the taxi and force you into the flesh trade.” I am not sure if every household in Mumbai is aware of it or it’s just my dad believing in the rumors doing rounds and just going into his overprotective mode. Turns out i never went to proper Colaba; it was Colaba causeway the one that is known as a shopping hub. But this leads me to think about prostitution in India.

Are we some of those people or rather the large population that lives on assumptions based on people’s opinion? Prostitution in India is legal provided it’s a transaction between two consenting adults and away from the public eye. Other things related to it like brothels i.e third party making money from the transactions or pimps/babus, men living off the wealth of prostitutes is illegal. There are measures taken by the government for the women who want to start a new life and quit prostitution, they are kept in rehab homes for approx. three years until they find a respectable job for themselves. Let’s face it, all those things are only good to hear and in government files but when it comes to reality we are lacking behind. No reputable organization will ever give them a job because they are despised in our society. Harijans at least acquired some position in the caste hierarchy whereas these females are not even considered human enough to grant them one. Off course they are not human, because no human can ever take that dreadful site of a male let alone entertain it!

There was no political party to consider their pleas or add them in their objectives; there was no constitution to grant them their birth rights and there wasn’t any government when it came to earning their livelihood. So why was it unacceptable when they proposed that they will be their own representatives when it came to forming the government? We are missing something here, prostitution as trade would never have flourished if it was not for the demand of it! Now if we deal with facts and figures, the ministry of women and child development reported the presence of 2.8 million sex workers in India in 2007, out of which 35.47% entered the trade before the age of 18, the number of prostitutes is doubled in the recent decade. Mumbai is the largest flesh market in the country and it has reached to the figure of 150 thousand prostitutes out of which 50% are assumed to carry HIV infection. Human rights watch puts the figure of sex workers in India around 20 million. shocking isn’t it? Unemployment in big cities is altogether a different story. When ordinary individuals cannot fetch themselves an appropriate job then these people whom we treat extraordinarily (note the sarcasm) will find any?

They are humans and that’s what they do to earn their living, why can’t we take it normally and accept their profession? Why are they judged? If it wouldn’t have been for their work men would seek satisfaction of their needs by immoral means. Number of rape and molestation cases would skyrocket! Digging in deep if we go to see, brothels operate even if it is not legalized. Wouldn’t it help if we had licensed brothels? In that case we can keep the actual record of sex workers, not only that but also the traders will be accountable for the sex workers working for them. So just like how standard work organizations follow a protocol and the workers’ interests are safeguarded it will be the case with brothels too. Besides the traders might no longer work secretly which will help to bring down the rates of immoral trafficking. They will come under the legal supervision which will tie their hands against anything forbidden.

If we see the prostitutes with loath in our eyes then we shouldn’t turn blind to their customers, because after all it takes two to Tango! Let’s have an open mind to everything only then can we have unbiased opinion, and only then can we progress in real sense. You never know what their story is or what they have been through so let us not assume their part and even better is to not judge. Because young India knows better!

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