Is Prostitution Legal Business or Profession In India?

Know, Which 18 Countries In The World Have Legalized Prostitution?

Indian Sex Worker. Pic by Google
1. India.
Prostitution itself is not illegal in our country, but soliciting and public prostitution are illegal. Owning a brothel is also against the law, but, as places like GB Road and Kamathipura prove, these laws are rarely enforced. Prostitution is legal in India. A number of related activities including soliciting in a public place, kerb crawling, owning or managing a brothel, prostitution in a hotel, child prostitution, pimping and pandering are illegal.

Lets See, what is the Provision Under Law In India?

Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act

The parliament of India has passed the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act in 1986. The short name of the act is ITPA and it also called the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act (PITA) is a 1986 amendment of legislation, SITA passed in 1956. It is the fruit of the the United Nations' declaration in 1950 in New York on the suppression of trafficking. The declaration is signed by India. Later on India enacted the legislation and the act then called the All India Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (SITA). The current PITA or ITPA is the amended form of SITA. The acts were intended as a means of limiting and eventually abolishing prostitution in India by gradually criminalising various aspects of sex work. Summary of the act is as following.

Who Is Sex Worker?: Generally sex worker is a woman. A prostitute who seduces or solicits shall be prosecuted. Similarly, call girls can not publish phone numbers to the public. (Punishment- Imprisonment up to 6 months with fine). Sex workers are also punished for prostitution near any public place or notified area- within 200 yards of radius. (Imprisonment of up to 3 months with fine)

Who Is The Client?: A client is male or his agent. He is guilty of consorting with prostitutes and can be charged if he engages in sex acts with a sex worker within 200 yards of a public place or "notified area". (Pinishment- Imprisonment of up to 3 months). The client may also be punished if the sex worker is below 18 years of age. (Punishment- Not less than 7 years and upto 10 years of imprisonment, whether with a child or a minor.)

Whos Is Pimps or Babus?: The Babus or pimps is the live-in lovers who live off a prostitute's earnings. They are guilty of a crime. Any adult male living with a prostitute is assumed to be guilty unless he can prove otherwise. (Punishment- Imprisonment of up to 2 years with fine.)

What’s Brothel?: Brothel means the place where the prostitution business takes palce. The brothel owners, landlords and brothel-keepers can be prosecuted, maintaining a brothel is illegal. (Punishment- From 1 to 3 years' imprisonment with fine for first offence), Detaining any sex worker or someone at a brothel for the purpose of sexual exploitation can lead to prosecution. (Punishment- Imprisonment, upto 7 years) Prostitution in a hotel is also a criminal offence because it also comes under the definition of brothel. Public place in context of this law includes places of public religious worship, educational institutions, hostels, hospitals etc. A "notified area" is a place which is declared to be "prostitution-free" by the state government under the PITA.

What’s Procurement and trafficking?: Procurement is the process of finding and agreeing to terms, and acquiring goods, services, (here the sex service and the sex worker) or works from an external source. In short procurement means to begin or give birth to the profession of prostitution. A person who procures or attempts to procure anybody is liable to be punished. Also a person who moves a person from one place to another, cummit human trafficking, can be prosecuted. (Punishement- Upto 7 years' imprisonment with fine for first conviction, and up to life imprisonment thereafter)

Who is the Rescued Women?: The rescued woman is the person who has been rescued from the prostitution meant for rehabilitation. The government is legally obligated to provide rescue and rehabilitation in a "protective home" for any sex worker requesting assistance.

So, Prostitution by a sex workerfor her personal livelihood, is legal one, but the trade, business or progression done for earning money is illegal act in India.

2. Austria- Prostitution, the provision of sexual services by adults, is generally legal in Austria. According to the current case law of the Supreme Court, contracts for sexual services between sex service providers on the one hand and customers on the other are generally permissible. Prostitution is completely legal in Austria. Prostitutes are required to register, undergo periodic health examinations, be 19 years old or older, and pay taxes. Despite this, there is a lot of smuggling and forced prostitution here. 

3. Colombia- Prostitution in Colombia is legal, regulated and limited to brothels in designated "tolerance zones". Sex workers are required to have regular health checks. However, the laws are rarely applied and prostitution is widespread, partly due to poverty and internal displacement. It is legal to work in the sex industry in Colombia, though pimping isn't. Prostitution is especially widespread in cities such as Cartagena and Barranquilla.

4. Denmark- Like India, in Denmark also, for while prostitution is legal in Denmark, it is illegal to profit from other people selling sex, such as pimping, or to rent rooms to sex workers, which means prostitutes can end up having sex in places like parks, alleyways, behind parked cars and telephone booths.Prostitution is legal here. The government even helps those with disabilities get laid by incurring the extra costs some of them have to pay.

5. Greece- Prostitution in Greece is legal at the age of 18, and regulated. It is estimated that fewer than 1,000 women are legally employed as prostitutes and approximately 20,000 women, half of whom are if foreign origin and the other half are Greek, are engaged in illegal prostitution.Greece has also followed the German method of including prostitution as an actual job in society. The sex workers get equal rights and have to go for health checkups pretty often. Greek sex work legislation adopted in 1999.
Sex Workers in Greece's Legal Brothel. Pic by Google.
6. Netherlands- Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands as long as it involves sex between consenting adults. Abuses like forced prostitution, underage prostitution and unsafe working conditions still occur. The government also wants to make it a criminal offence to engage the services of a prostitute younger than 21. One of the places most famous for it's red-window sex workers, prostitution is, obviously, legal here, just like a lot of other things. They've always had a slightly more open way of dealing with things deemed taboo elsewhere.

7. New Zealand- Prostitution in New Zealand, brothel-keeping, living off the proceeds of someone else's prostitution, and street solicitation are legal in New Zealand and have been since the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 came into effect. Coercion of sex workers is illegal. There are even licensed brothels operating under public health and employment laws, which means the workers get social benefits just like other employees.

8. Belgium-  Prostitution is legal in Belgium, but related activities such as organising prostitution and other forms of pimping are illegal. Enforcement varies, and in some areas brothels are unofficially tolerated.They have been trying to remove the stigma, violence and fear associated with prostitution by not just legalising it but also running proper state of the art brothels with fingerprint technology and keycards.

9. Bangladesh- Even being a Islamic state, prostitution in Bangladesh is legal and regulated. Prostitutes must register and state an affidavit stating that they are entering prostitution of their own free choice and that they are unable to find any other work. Bangladeshi prostitutes often suffer poor social conditions and are frequently socially degraded. Male prostitution is illegal, but everything else is legal. Bangladesh has a severe minor trafficking problem, which is perpetuated by corruption. Pimping and owning a brothel is also legal.

10. Australia- Brothels are legal in NSW under the Summary Offences Act 1988. Although prostitution has been decriminalized in NSW, some activities associated with sex work are illegal. Examples of these are: Unless you own or manage a brothel, living on the earnings of a sex worker is illegal. The legal status of prostitution in Oz differs from state to state. It is decriminalized in some areas, and illegal in other parts. Same goes for for brothel ownership.

11. France- It is legal for a man or woman to be a prostitute and sell sexual acts. The buying of sexual acts was outlawed in April 2016. Owning or operating a brothel is illegal. All forms of proxénétisme (procuring) are illegal.Prostitution is legal in France, though soliciting in public is still outlawed. Pimping is illegal and brothels were outlawed in France in 1946, right after the War.

12. Germany- Prostitution was legalised here in 1927 and there are proper state run brothels. The workers are provided with health insurance, have to pay taxes and they even receive social benefits like pension.

13. Brazil- Prostitution in Brazil is legal, in terms of exchanging sex for money, as there are no laws forbidding adults from being professional sex workers, but it is illegal soliciting a agents, publicise the contact numbers for prostitution, pimping. No law has ever existed in the Brazilian Penal Code to criminalize the prostitution. So, prostitution in itself is legal here.

14. Ecuador- Everything related to sex work is legal here. You can sell your body, run a brothel or be a pimp with no legal ramifications. Forced prostitution is a bit of a problem here though.
Switzerland Sex Worker (Pic by Google)
15. Switzerland- Prostitution in Switzerland is legal and regulated; it has been legal since 1942. Trafficking, forcing people into prostitution and most forms of pimping are illegal. Licensed brothels, typically with a reception and leading to several studio apartments, are available.

16. Hungary- Prostitution in Hungary has been legalized and regulated by the government since 1999. Under the law, prostitutes are basically professionals who engage in sexual activities in exchange for money. The government allows this activity as long as they pay taxes and keep legal documents.

17. Latvia- Legally, the prostitution in Latvia is governed by the "Regulations Regarding Restriction of Prostitution" issued by the Cabinet of Ministers. A Restriction of Prostitution law to codify the Regulations is currently being developed. Prostitutes must have reached age of majority, which is 18 in Latvia. A prostitute may not provide services while having herpes infection, dermatophytosis, pubic lice, gonococcal infection, chlamydia, scabies, leprosy or syphilis. A person who has HIV infection is banned from providing sexual services.

18. Turkey- Prostitution in Turkey is regulated under article 227 of the Turkish Penal Code (Law No. 5237). Promoting prostitution is punishable by two months to four years' imprisonment. The passport law forbids entry to Turkey for the purposes of prostitution. Brothels (Genelev) are legal and licensed under health laws dealing with Sexually transmitted infections. Women need to be registered and acquire an ID card stating the dates of their health checks. It is mandatory for registered prostitutes to undergo regular health checks for sexually transmitted diseases, and the use of condoms is mandatory.

From the above discussion, we can understand, the prostitution in India and all above countries, is not an illegal act, commited by the sex worker for her livelihood. But running a brothel, soliciting a agents, publicise the contact numbers for prostitution, pimping, ect are illegal acts and can attract punishment because most countries have adopted the United Nations' declaration in 1950 in New York on the suppression of trafficking.

The Editor

भारतीय संविधान आणि भारतीय कायद्यांबाबत, तसेच कायदीय चालू घडामोडी, न्यायालयांचे निकाल, निर्णय, आदेशा याबाबत मराठी आणि इंग्रजी अशा दोन्ही भाषेतून वाचकांना ज्ञान मिळावे यासाठी हा ब्लॉग सुरू करण्यात आला आहे. कायद्याचे अभ्यासक, वकील, विद्यार्थी हे सुद्धा या ब्लॉगवर आपले लेख प्रसिद्ध करू शकतात. संपर्क:- अ‍ॅड. रावण धाबे,

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