International Day of No Prostitution

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International Day of No Prostitution

  • International Day of No Prostitution (IDNP) is an awareness day celebrated to oppose the practice of sex work.
  • First observed in 2002, the event takes place annually on the 5th of October.
  • INDP is observed primarily by anti-prostitution feminists who regard prostitution as a form of male dominance over women and a form of exploitation.

Prostitution in India

  • Prostitution is legal in India.
  • A number of related activities including soliciting , kerb crawling, owning or managing a brothel, prostitution in a hotel, child prostitution, pimping and pandering are illegal.

Legal Status

  • The law on prostitution is vague itself.
  • The primary law dealing with the status of sex workers is the 1956 law referred to as The Immoral Traffic (Suppression) Act (SITA).
  • According to this law, prostitutes can practice their trade privately but cannot legally solicit customers in the public.
  • The Indian law does not refer to the practice of selling one's own sexual service as ""prostitution"".
  • Clients can be punished for sexual activity in proximity to a public place.
  • Organised prostitution (brothels, prostitution rings, pimping, etc.) is illegal.
  • As long as it is done individually and voluntarily, a woman (male prostitution is not recognised in any law in India) can use her body in exchange for material benefit.
  • In particular, the law forbids a sex worker to carry on her profession within 200 yards of a public place. Unlike as is the case with other professions, sex workers are not protected under normal labour laws, but they possess the right to rescue and rehabilitation if they desire, and they possess all the rights of other citizens.
  • In practice SITA is not commonly used.
  • The Indian Penal Code (IPC) which predates the SITA is often used to charge sex workers with vague crimes such as ""public indecency"" or being a ""public nuisance"" without explicitly defining what these consist of. In 1986 the old law was amended as the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act or ITPA.
  • Attempts to amend this to criminalise clients have been opposed by the Health Ministry and have encountered considerable opposition.
  • In a positive development in the improvement of the lives of female sex workers in Calcutta, a state-owned insurance company has provided life insurance to 250 individuals.

The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, or ITPA

  • Also called the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act (PITA) is a 1986 amendment of legislation passed in 1956 as a result of the signing by India of the United Nations' declaration in 1950 in New York on the suppression of trafficking.
  • The act, then called the All India Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (SITA), was amended to the current law.
  • The important sections are discussed below.
  • Section-3 of the act prescribes punishment for keeping a brothel or allowing premises to be used as a brothel. ‘Brothel’ has been defined in section 2(a) of the act which states that it can be any house, room or place which is used for prostitution.
  • Section-4 of the act penalises any person who is living on the earnings of prostitution. This section does not even exclude the family members.
  • Section-5 of the act penalises the procuring, inducing or taking person for the sake of prostitution. This section targets the pimps, brothel owners and traffickers.
  • Section-6 of the act penalises the people who detains a sex worker in the brothel or any premises where prostitution is carried on. This section specifically targets the middle men and the brothel owners.
  • Section-7 of the act penalises the prostitution when it is carried out in or in the vicinity of public places. Public places include any densely populated area, hostel, public religious worship, educational institution, hospital, nursing home or any other place which is notified by Commissioner of police, Magistrate and the state government. Vicinity refers to as two hundred meters.
  • Section-8 of the act penalises the sex worker for seducing or soliciting a person for purpose of prostitution. According to this section, a sex worker cannot do any gestures to invite someone for the purpose of prostitution.
  • This section is discriminatory as it prescribes different punishments for the same offence to the man, as the punishment is half of what is prescribed for the female.

Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with prostitution as well but it majorly deals with kidnapping and child prostitution.

  • It penalises the buying, selling and importing of minors for the purpose of prostitution under Section 372 and Section 373.

The Constitution of India prohibits trafficking in human beings, beggars and other similar forms of forced labor under Article 23(1) and any contravention of this provision shall be an offense punishable in accordance with the law under Article 23(2).