Swati Maliwal, the chief of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), recently started her second term and has come out with new ideas.
One of her latest aims will be to bring an end to prostitution in Delhi and she said so herself, “My next target is to ensure no prostitution in Delhi.”
Delhi’s GB Road is a popular red-light district where a lot of prostitutes operate from and live in too.
Maliwal had previously also taken a lot of measures like approaching authorities like MCD, electricity companies and Delhi Jal board etc. who get out information about the brothel owners on GB Road. She then went on to rescue minor girls and helped with the rehabilitation of sex workers through various steps.
Previously, Maliwal has said that, “prostitution was the worst form of slavery and legalising the trade would promote trafficking.”
While all those steps for the betterment of the sex workers are certainly noteworthy, ending prostitution all together is also not something that is possible entirely.
Right now, while prostitution, that is the exchange of money in return of sexual services is legal in India, however, the rest of the things like owning a brothel, soliciting customers etc. are all illegal in Delhi, but have still been going on for years now.
The illegal trade market that is prostitution is extremely big and further putting bans on it will only make it go more underground and unsafe for the women in it.
A better thing would be to fully industrialise the sector with proper laws and regulations and make it a whole profession.
Let us take a look at what all can happen if prostitution is legalised in Delhi:
#1. Revenue To The Country
Currently, since prostitution as a profession is not recognised and its acts are declared illegal, practically all of the money it earns goes into the black market and not into the country.
If prostitution is legalised, it will also mean that the sex workers and the brothel owners etc. will have to pay taxes which will turn all the black money of that sector into money going inside the country.
Belgium, Germany and various other countries that have legalised this sector have the prostitutes pay their taxes yearly.
#2. Better Healthcare For The Sex Workers
Legalising it will also make the brothel owners accountable for the safety and healthcare of their employees. The danger of HIV and AIDS will be easier to deal with since brothel owners will have to make sure that their employees are healthy and without any diseases.
Imagine prostitutes will then be called employees working in a properly established sector that has health care and other measures to ensure their safety.
A lot of common laws under prostitution worldwide ask that the prostitutes get a health card that is a proof that they are disease free and do not have any transferrable disease.
A further step can be taken to ask the customers visiting brothels to also submit their own health card that states any disease or ailment they might have and only then will they be allowed the use of the services there.
Avert, an NGO about HIV awareness in 2017 has stated that,
“Where sex workers are criminalised, they can be difficult to reach or unwilling to cooperate for fear of being arrested. By removing legal restrictions, HIV prevention programmes could be carried out much more effectively.
Research evidence supports this argument. An analysis of data from 27 European countries found that in countries that have legalised some aspects of sex work there is a significantly lower HIV prevalence among sex workers compared to those countries where all aspects of sex work are criminalised.”
#3. Job Security and Safety
With prostitution becoming a regularized sector, job security will also be there since not every sex worker is doing it against their will.
Those who are not happy there will be able to leave the profession and start over somewhere else without the stigma that comes with it currently.
A lot of crimes against the women prostitutes and sex workers can also reduce with legalizing prostitution. Right now due to them working behind the curtain and not being supervised by any higher authority, the entire business is very shady and by legalizing, those can be weeded out.
#4. Customers Will Be Accountable
Another thing that is often associated with prostitution is that it breaks marriages, but if the sector is turned into a proper regularized industry, customers will become accountable for it.
Since there will be some sort of record of their activity and so the whole debate of prostitutes ruining families can be countered.
Although the industry will need extremely tight rules and regulations and careful supervision by the government if is ever legalised, eradicating it completely it also not something that is practical to think about.
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