or Boon of Prostitutions
By Maxwell Pereira
the world's oldest profession, is universally rampant even in
all civilized countries, though subject to regulation by law or
custom. Need for gratification of sexual urge has impelled men
and women of all ages and in all countries to exploit sex. The
trade and its accompanying evil of traffic in persons is incompatible
with human dignity. Concerned over the growing danger to morality
and a healthy and decent living in society, world public opinion
congregated at New York in a convention of May 1950 for suppression
of traffic in persons being exploited for immoral purposes. Pursuant
to this, the Indian Parliament for the first time passed an Act
for "Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls"
- an Act of 1956 (SITA), aimed at suppressing the evils of prostitution
in women and girls; and to achieve a public purpose to rescue
fallen women and girls and prevent deterioration in public morals,
to stamp out the rampant evil of prostitution, and also to provide
opportunity to the fallen to become decent members of society.
did not succeed in eradicating or suppressing the evils of prostitution,
and was amended in 1978. Besides introducing further stringent
measures, a progressive step here was the opening given under
the Probation of Offenders Act. The provision for release on probation
was being abused, it was soon found! So Parliament intervened
in 1986, repealing provisions relating to probation, and providing
stricter and higher penalty. SITA was changed to Immoral Traffic
(Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA), the ITPA used the expression 'person'
thus covering both male and the female.
definition of prostitution was also changed to cover only cases
where exploitation or abuse of persons is for commercial purposes,
and any place used for such abuse or exploitation to be termed
a brothel. A minimum punishment of seven years' imprisonment was
prescribed for most offences, which may extend to life, or to
ten years. Both Central and State Governments conferred with powers
to establish special courts for trial of offences under ITPA,
with power to try offences in summary proceedings (…sentence
in such trial not to exceed one year imprisonment). For investigation
of offences with inter-state ramifications the Central Government
empowered to appoint 'immoral traffic' police officers with territorial
jurisdiction extending to the whole of India, with powers and
duties as prescribed under the ITPA for a special police officer
are several reasons which force or impel women to turn to prostitution.
At times for reasons of difficulty in finding employment; of excessively
laborious and low-paid work; mal-treatment of the girl child at
home; of privacy-denied promiscuous and indecent living among
the overcrowded poor; the aggregation of people together in large
communities and factories whereby the young are brought into constant
contact with the morally debased; the visible lure of luxury,
loose manners and self-indulgence set by wealthier classes; porn
literature and amusements; the art of profligate men and their
India, though technically illegal, prostitution is widely tolerated.
Condoms are distributed for free to call girls. According to a
1994 report in Asian Age there were then at least 70,000 women
sex workers in Delhi, Madras, Calcutta, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
30% of these under 20 years of age, 40% in 20-30 age bracket,
and approximately 15% who became prostitutes as children under
the age of 12. The majority being Dalits or from castes which
are recognised as backward under the Indian Constitution. Many
innocent victims forced into prostitution even by their husbands
or relatives; and some more tricked or enticed into prostitution.
In 1998, prostitutes in India started to organize and lobby for
report on the web puts the total number of prostitutes in India
at 7,936,509. Another estimates it at 2.3 million. UNICEF estimates
there are at least a million child prostitutes in Asia alone,
with the greatest number in India (400-500,000), Thailand, Taiwan
and the Philippines. Cage prostitutes, often minors from Nepal
and Bangladesh. Economic incentives offered to parents to part
with their children, fake jobs or marriage promises, abductions.
The promotion of tourism also accused for rising numbers of prostituted
Delhi prostitution appears to have assumed a huge organised business
now. Also, unlike in the past when girls from poor families were
forced into prostitution, more and more models, school and college
girls and young house-wives are increasingly observed in the profession.
Girls from rich and good families also want quick money, charging
not necessarily in Rupees but hundreds of dollars. Deals are fixed
by pimps who arrange to meet the clients. Businessmen and the
rich no longer required to throng dingy brothels. In a recent
interview to BBC a Delhi prostitute disclosed she entertains big
business delegations which come to Delhi and other high-profile
people because they can pay good money. NGOs working in the field
confirm this position. Among those arrested, many are found to
be from other metropolises, flying into Delhi on Friday nights
to spend the weekend for pleasure and lucre and return.
police in addition are hassled by the mushrooming of fitness centres,
hotels and farmhouses accused of being hubs for prostitution.
And massage parlours and 'dating' services which provide escorts.
Call girl rackets are regularly busted in five star hotels, guest
houses and upmarket colonies. With the opening up of the Russian
and other East-European economies, there is also an influx of
the creamy lot and the white-skinned ostensibly to provide the
locals with added flavour.
03.08.2004: Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002.
You can interact with the author at http://
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