By Noopur Bhandari
If Gambia, Germany, Nevada (U.S.A.) can legalize prostitution, then why not India? Prostitution has had its roots in the Indian society for decades, to say the least. In my opinion, it is nothing more than a mental blockage that is stopping this much needed act of legalizing prostitution. The most common argument I hear is, “It is WRONG!” and when asked why, the answer remains “It is just wrong”. Thus showcasing the mental blockage mentioned earlier. No valid reason has ever been given. Some people with better ‘awareness’ oppose it by saying “It means you are giving right to people to use women as merchandize”. Well first things first, prostitution is not just restricted to women; it is NOT a gender issue. And secondly it is the people who have a right on their body, not the government.
I see a lot of positive effects of legalizing prostitution:
- The whole system can be brought under law. There will be rules and regulations. Age limits can be imposed. Thus, the government can keep an account of the prostitutes and their ages. By tracking the whole system we can easily reach minors who are forced to be a part of this and thus, can bring them out of prostitution by providing them counseling and other means.
- Government can play its role. If it is monitored, diseases can be reduced tremendously. Prostitutes can be provided with health coverage; they can have compulsory routine checkup resulting in reduction of AIDS and other STDs.
- Illegal prostitution is a costly affair for the country as well in terms of police deployed and public defenders. By legalizing it, we can not only just reduce the unwanted cost, but can also bring it under our taxation system.
- Prostitutes can form their union, approach police and can fight for their rights. Middlemen taking prostitutes’ money is not a rare occurrence .It will give employment rights to prostitutes. Since legalization will lead to acceptance of prostitutes in the Indian society, people indulged in forced prostitution can approach police and government without any insecurity.
- There have been numerous abortion cases by prostitutes. Major reasons for abortion are – fear from the society, inability to raise children, etc.
By legalizing prostitution, prostitutes will gain acceptance from society thus freeing them from fear. Also, government and NGO’s can take charge on the concern of upbringing of children, if needed. They can also spread awareness and knowledge of protected sex more effectively.
Every implication has its pros and cons. We see legalizing prostitution is going to benefit us, both with the social and economic point of view. It will also lead to better medical facilities. Also, we cannot deny the fact that legally or ill-legally, people still indulge in it. That is the harsh reality that has even led many foreigners being illegally brought into the country to be used as prostitutes. Prostitution was a part of Indian society and will continue to be a part of it (we can even see it in Bollywood). So why not legalize it, regulate it and improve the whole system of prostitution, making it more structured and safe.