In a historic verdict, the Supreme Court said that 'Prostitution is a profession and all sex workers are entitled to dignity and equal protection under the law. Moreover, the top Court has also directed police officials not to take action against consenting sex workers. India ranks among the top five countries for Prostitution, and the Supreme Court bench, led by Justice L Nageswara Rao, highlighted that voluntary sex work was not illegal.
The Apex Court heard a plea highlighting the deprivation faced by sex workers on account of the Covid-19 pandemic and sought relief measures for over nine lakh women and transgender sex workers across India.
Including Sex Workers, Representatives In Decision-Making
The Court said that criminal law must be applied based on age and consent. The Police have been directed to take action and act following the law if any sex worker files a complaint of any criminal, sexual or any other type of offence, India Today reported. The Bench said that voluntary sex workers should not be charged or harassed whenever there is any raid in a brothel since Prostitution was not illegal in India, but running a brothel remains unlawful.
Moreover, the top Court has directed that the government involve sex workers or their representatives while making any policy decisions, including planning, designing, and implementing any policy or programme for the sex workers or formulating any reform in the laws relating to sex work.
Awareness, Education Programmes For Sex Workers
The Court also mentioned that no child or sex worker must not be separated from their mother merely because they are involved in the sex trade. If any sex worker is a victim of sexual assault, she must be provided with all the facilities available for victims of sexual assault in India.
Lastly, the top Court has also directed governments to hold awareness drives and educate sex workers on their rights, legality of their profession, obligations of the Police and what is prohibited and allowed under the law.
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