by Aditi Narain
Being at par with the world is the ‘new in’, India stands in par with most upcoming or at the least attempts to do so. The final abolishment of triple talaq was done by the Indian Judiciary by the end of the last decade. The need to adapt to the recognition of will, in turn, assist the government in regulating and keep in check of the already running centuries-old brothels.
Fifteen countries of the world legalize that have legalized prostitution include; New Zealand has legalized prostitution since 2003 which encompasses licensed brothels operating under public health and employment laws, which gives prostitutes social benefits like any other employees; Belgium intends to remove the stigma society at large holds against this profession and has introduced fingerprint access and key cards inside running state of the art brothels; Denmark also has legalized prostitution and the state also gives aid to its disabled citizens for availing these services; France recognizes prostitution legally but does not support running of brothels; Germany legalized prostitution and state-run brothels in 1927, hence they receive all benefits like health insurance and pay taxes and so has Greece. The list has more countries but the gist is that countries embracing this profession rather than treat it with disgust.
The legal recognition of prostitution will effect in, payment rights to their services and will reduce exploitation. They will receive health benefits which include regular checkups and thus keep their bodies healthy and alarm them about the onset of pregnancy. They will pay taxes as any other employee does and get positive recognition in society due to all the above. Lack of legal support also gives rise to crimes like extortion, bodily injuries, rape, forced prostitution, and human trafficking.
Modus operandi in Arthashastra
In the third century BCE, during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya, Asthashastra was the governing book for all state and law-related matters within their empire. A part of Arthashastra has operatives and laws on courtesans, brothels, and prostitutes. They were important employees of the government who worked in the King’s court and aided the army.
The platform for sexual entertainment to the public using prostitutes was carried out in a state-owned establishment. The state was responsible for bearing all the expenses for the training and education of prostitutes and courtesans, accomplishments included singing, playing musical instruments (including the vina, the flute, and the mridangam), conversing, reciting, dancing, acting, writing, painting, mind-reading, preparing perfumes and garlands, shampooing and making love. The sons of the prostitutes were trained to become a producer of plays and dances at the expense of the state. Thus, all the prostitutes were paid employees at such establishments, who received a fixed salary and paid one-sixth of their earnings to the state in the form of taxes. The entertainment houses were headed by a capable, beautiful and talented woman, who was titled as madam and was to be paid 1000 panas as her employment wage, a deputy appointed below her would receive 500 panas as her employment wage. Stiff punishments were given to people who robbed or cheated on a prostitute, abducted her, on confining her against her will or disfiguring her and to those who forced themselves upon virgins or daughters of a prostitute, the man must pay fine and also compensation to the mother of sixteen times the fee for a visit.
The exploitation of rights of prostitutes
The well-being, humane rights, recognition, and health are all at risk for all the women, men and transgender who work as prostitutes.
A BBC documentation on the horrors of brothels has highlighted the need to legally recognize their work to avoid exploitation of teenagers as sex workers against their will and of women who have firstly, been brought to the brothel by misrepresentation and fraud and secondly by men who are the users of their services, who force them at their whim and also deny to paying them.The All India Network for Sex Workers list the difficulties faced by them in India;
- Critique the trafficking paradigm that conflates representations of sex work, migration, and mobility
- Speak out about violence against sex workers, including violence from police, institutions, clients, and intimate partners, while challenging the myth that sex work is inherently gender-based violence
- Oppose human rights abuses, including coercive programming, mandatory testing, raids, and forced rehabilitation
- Challenge stigma and discrimination against sex workers, their families and partners, and others involved in sex work
- Oppose the criminalization and other legal oppression of sex work and support its recognition as work
- Advocate for universal access to health services, including primary health care, HIV and sexual and reproductive health services. Advocate for the economic empowerment and social inclusion of sex workers as sex workers
Suggestions can only be made as long as the ones you are orating to understand your opinion, reflect about its consequences and according to act upon them, wherein our government fails to do so. The implementation of authorities to regulate prostitutes will benefit both sides of the ordeal. The crimes at and related to prostitutes will drop as they will be employees like any other citizens who work, they will have established health and social security. They are humans who have been treated like cattle. India needs to brush off its post-Victorian law adaptations and read to learn more from its own rich and unorthodox past, that set stands which is unattainable by the current mindset of officials and society.