13 September 2011

Should Flesh Trade be made Legal?

When Sahana (of Spicy Sweet fame) asked me if I would write a guest post for her blog, I readily agreed. It's an honor to write a guest post for her. If you read her blog, you would know why.

She suggested a couple of topics & I chose to write on "Should Flesh Trade be made Legal?."

It hasn't been easy writing on this because we all know the ramifications of reacting to a sensitive topic like this one. Also, writing on a controversial subject for another blogger's space is trickier & I did have my initial reservations.

Let me know your views.


  1. great post...totally agree...
    comment left there

  2. now going to read the your guest post.

  3. It's never easy writing a controversial post - Kudos to your efforts :)

  4. Sujatha just came back from your guest post..bahut acha...liked your thoughts :)...though I am of a different opinion...Every law that is passed in India for the protection of women covers every women irrespective of her profession, so obviously prostitutes are also included. If legalizing any profession would stop the abuse of women then we do have lot of examples of legally acceptable professions where women are abused and harassed. Whether a prostitute or not, a rape victim is ridiculed by defense or the police. Even if prostitution is legalized I am not sure these women will come out and say...We are prostitutes. Will the society still accept them.. Discrimination against HIV patients is illegal but the society still does it, there are laws against corruption but it still is being practiced...Moreover according to law any relationship outside marriage is a punishable offence, so if prostitution is legalized it will indirectly contradict the marriage law..or it will mean that men who are married cannot go to prostitutes and men who are single can go to them..So I am not really sure if legalization would help...it is more about the mentality of the society..for a certain class of people to be accepted into the so called normal world do we really need a law or just a open heart...

  5. @sm: thank you

    @Kiran: thanks Kiran, this is the first time that i've actually touched upon something this controversial in my blog

    @Sunitha: we definitely need an open heart Sunitha no doubt about it.

    i also agree that a law is not going to solve our myriad problems. but every profession is protected by the law. and prostitution which is an industry in itself now, like any other profession needs certain cover. corruption, domestic violence, HIV, rape etc etc are all still prevalent but there's a hope for the victims to seek justice through the law. for corruption to go, every person has to change but how long can we wait for every person to change? killing is wrong, every human knows it, so is rape but still there are abundant cases for both. but because of law, there is a hope for redressal. legalizing it only the first step in a long battle

  6. Hello Hello
    So do u see this always :D <>
    Sign Board ;) when there is a comment from me!!!

    He He He Please I have to think 10 times before commenting on Bloggers like you, Such gifted people you are:D

    Keep writing I will love to read such post from you.

  7. @Ramya: same here. i love visiting your blog & reading your posts Ramya.
    the only time i didn't like was when you wrote that beautiful travelogue on your trip Leh/Ladakh & posted all those amazing snaps. hotte urdoitu nandu :(
    aa tharah thirga baribedi pls. bardre nanna block madi ashte - pls. otherwise i will burn with jealousy :))

  8. Nice post Sujatha,
    I understand the underlying angst you were trying to address in the post, and you did make some excellent points in favor of the legalization, however there are major cons too, in the way of legalization of prositution.
    If we legalize it, that gives a brothel the right too open up shop near a residential area, like a hotel, or wine shops, or any other legal trades, I am not sure that is such is desirable prospect.
    Also, right now prostitution as such isn't illegal, what is illegal is the 'solicitation' or in words selling/marketing oneself, i.e advertizing the business and enticing people to visit the business, so what will be legal is the 'solicitation' part, so essentially as we are walking down the road, nothing can stop prostitutes or pimps from handing down 'brochures' to their business and openely advertizing it too...
    So this and other factors make it a difficult choice, I am on the fence on this issue, I do feel for the plight of the women who are forced into prostitution, but I dunno if legalizing it is the solution to it all...I wouldn't want India to turn into Amsterdam.

  9. Its a gr8 contribution sujatha...
    And...hey how do u know supriya shetty? bcoz we have mutual friend am asking.

  10. Very much appreciative thoughts.. Read the post. As usual it was great. Comment goes out there too..

  11. @chitra: i wondered about it too. Then realized you must be friends from the Ayurveda college.

    We went to the same school - she was my immediate junior :)

    @Ashwini: thank you so much for that effort

  12. @Anjali: i agree legalizing isn't the magic wand that will miraculously change everything but maybe it can alter a few things in favor of the victims. i wish it would

    i had no idea about the solicitation / legal angles /business / advertising part of it neither about Amsterdam. thanks for sharing that Anjali.

  13. Yeah,,me and supriya studied in same college :)
    she was my seniour.

  14. hmmm ya Sujatha maybe you are right...I mean after all how long will these guys wait for the world to change..so if legalization gives them some benefit then sure why not...I can right away think of one sure shot benefit...under the pretense of legality the policemen keep taking money from these women and also ask for direct favours...I think if it is legalized then atleast this kind of abouse of these victims will stop....aur ha u r right it might not be the magic wand but it will give a start... paaji tusi again gr8 ho :D :D :D

  15. You presented your arguments well and had some interesting thoughts. I will say - you did a great job presenting your case. I don't necessarily agree with the legalization- but as I said- you did very well in presenting your points.

  16. @chitra: ohh that makes me the senior most amongst us

    @Sunitha: the police are the first & most rabid abusers of power everywhere - whether it's in the valleys of Kashmir or streets of Kamathipura or strife stricken North East regions. & as you rightly said, its not always just money. remember the scene in Wanted? mahesh manjrekar sleeps around & says,"paisa kal doonga"

    @Anjuli: thank you Anjuli & i can understand your reservations on the issue. it is kind of like a hypothetical situation. no one can be one hundred percent sure of it as we hardly have a precedent for it in our country. thanks again for the effort though

    @Hamza: thank you Hamza

  17. Commented on the actual post as your post is only a reference to the original post

  18. Have posted my comment on the actual post :).

  19. Big NO

    This is very complex topic.First of all lets see who are involved and for how long is this trade in practise and how is it conducted now

    Girls in this trade mainly fall on three category 1)Belonging to tribe or caste who opted for this trade many centuries back 2)Forced into by their lover/husband/family 3)Short time entrants who wish to overcome their immediate financial problems by doing for short period and then disappearing back in main stream.

    History:Yes,indeed this trade has long history,in other words we can say almost from time civilizations came in reckoning it is existed in one form or other.There was a arrangement in ancient India known as NAGAR VADHU which literally means wife of entire city.

    Now:This trade is carried out secretly at very low level in selected places.There are some exceptions like Sonagachi in Kolkotta.

    Consequences of legalising:
    1)A direct invitation to fence sitters to get involved in immoral activities.Can a wife then question her husband if he decides to satisfy his carnal desire legally? Will create lot of social and family problems.
    2)Present law treats sex workers as victims,is compassionate towards their ordeal.How valid is a reasoning that since we cannot stop forced prostitution lets legalise it? There are enough laws currently to punish culprits who resort to human trafficking.
    3)It is observed that in countries where this trade is legal, STD cases are on rise.Lets not be carried away by juvenile thoughts that STD can be prevented by latex,once in act it can be transimitted by other ways also.So increase in multiple partners increases risk of spread of STDs.
    4)Flesh trade cannot be completely stopped but can be limited or controlled by active social and state support.Legalising it will help it to grow.

    Having said that i must say that workers of this trade are subjected to inhumane treatment and there is certainly a need to safeguard their interests.But legalising it will never solve the problem.

  20. @Vinod: i respect your views & totally understand your perspective & thank you for shedding light on some aspects of this issue. as for the consequences: whether legal/illegal, a wife cant really stop her husband from going that way. if she learns about it, she has only two choice: accept or leave. family problems seems unavoidable if she doesnt keep quiet

    when i wrote the post, i was thinking on the lines of your last para - their inhumane treatment & no safety of their interests.

    by the way, i came to know just a few hours back, that in india it is already legal!

  21. Yes indeed law permits a woman to practise this trade in private not within 200mts of Public place like temple,hospitals etc.But a number of related activities, including soliciting in a public place, keeping a brothel, pimping and pandering, are illegal.A law formulated in 1956 known as SITA provided full protection to workers but this law was superceded by PITA{Prevention of immoral trafficking act} in 1986 under which a sex worker can be charged for indecency and immoral activities which makes them vulnerable to Police and other law enforcing agencies.

    Whenver we see this workers standing along roadside soliciting customers our heart goes for them,they are out in dark,God knows what kind of men will they end with,how will they be treated.It is a shame for civil society which cannot guarantee a life of self respect to its citizen.

    Anyways who is most deplorable, this kind of workers or our politicians/bureacrats who prostitute their integrity for money.

  22. Short answer---yes I do think it should be made legal.

    That said, I'm off to read what YOU think! ;)

  23. regarding legality ... i dont know whether comparison is correct .. in kerala alcohol is highly overregulated and paradoxically has highest percapita drinking rate in country and all its problems .. while in mumbai it is available in every other restaurant and i am yet to find a drunkard ..police are only strict about drunken driving .. the point is whenever something is hushed up regulated etc its human nature to overcompensate ... india being a free country anyone has the right to do anything as long as it doesnt harm another one .. so i think prostitution should be legal ..

  24. @Vinod: your second para: yes it is so true and scary. i too feel that when i see them.
    i really wish the politicians/bureaucrats genuinely try & address the issues that they face. they are so vulnerable to the harassment by police its horrifying

    @Boobies: thank you

    @haroon: yes, as long as no one is being exploited & taken advantage of, & as long as those who are in it already are left to attend to their livelihood

  25. Gone through your blog. Please write for our Ezine: http://www.indilink.co.in

  26. @Indilink: sure will do that. thanks

  27. Interesting observation:
    Many female readers supported legal status whereas most of male readers did not support!!!!!.Well all female thought on emotional lines from their heart giving top importance to ordeal of workers involved whereas men tend to analyse all aspects before reaching any conclusion.

    That does not mean that men always think rationally and women always think emotionally..just in this case it is so :-)

  28. yes and no....left my views on the post...!!!

    well penned post Sujatha...:))

  29. @Irfan: welcome back Irfan! looong time no see :)

  30. hi Sujatha...
    i am little busy with some personal affairs, will be soon back into main stream...Thank you....:)

  31. Dear guest, host and the readers,
    This indeed is a big problem.
    2 years back, during the HIV-AIDS Awareness week, I had a chance to interact with a group of sex workers. The purpose was to educate them on safe sex and practices. Initially, to build rapport we probed a little into their personal life and then into their social life and let them talk for a while.
    Their problems are complex and knotty.And as u mentioned, once recognized as a sex worker, it is a blind alley. Majority of those who tried to move out, have either come back or are on the streets.
    They are victims of extreme exploitation and lives a life that we can't even imagine.
    Perhaps they are the one group of people who are denied of their basic rights. Majority are scared to claim it and most of the time their demands are ridiculed and denied.
    In abstract, all that you quoted here are 100% true and at times the situation is worse.
    And as you said, prostitution has existed and will continue to exist. So all that we can consider is legalize it and protect their rights.
    And that do not mean we should promote it.

    Here is a translation of the painful words that a lady spoke:
    "....We had our dreams. We played with dolls and dreamed of a home, family, children, wealth, happiness and peace just as you people. Though you and me are sitting together, the distance that separates us is very big. That is the difference between the dreams achieved and shattered....."

  32. @leopaw: it's heartening to know about your interaction with them & what the lady said is painfully true. what hurts is there really is no way out of this maze. thank you leopaw for sharing your experience & views

  33. @leopow Totally agree that for women involved in this trade its one way street,no returning.Indeed what that lady said was very very painful.

    "They are victims of extreme exploitation and lives a life that we can't even imagine." how true,one cannot even write what they go thru..it is totally beyond permissible level of civil conduct of writing.

    But there are many who willingly flirt with danger.Last week 3 women from our community were apprehended.They were neither needy nor forced they willingly got involved for easy money,one of the lady belonged to very respectful family.Prime culprit was the woman who led other two to this field.Inspite of police fear she could successfully convince two women imagine what will happen if this trade is made legal....

  34. hi i went through the post as per the link u had left and i realised are posts are so similar to each others:) you are right we do think alike,am actually planning to fight for this particular cause after doing some more research lemme know if u are in:)

  35. @alka: definitely. anything i can do,i will.

  36. So happy to see your post, you know it just make my day! Hope for more excellent post liek this. rs gold , runescape gold