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Prostitution In India

indian sexAccording to a survey conducted in 1988 by Sanlaap, an Indian NGO for women founded in 1987, it was found that a number of women went into prostitution or became commercial workers because of:

  • circumstances and lack of resources, not preference.
  • after breakup of marriages or being thrown out by their families

Furthermore, this survey went on to establish that it were agents who were introducing women into the profession. 76% agents were women themselves while 24% were males. This may be surprising for people living in India to believe.

Prostitution is India is a thriving business though it is not acknowledged by a layperson or made public. The 1956 law in India is known as The Moral Traffic (Suppression) Act. It has been amended and now known as The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act. Under this act, this profession in India is neither legal nor illegal. However, the law forbids soliciting customers and a prostitute cannot practice her trade within 200 yards of a public place. The law, however, allows prostitutes to be rescued should they desire.

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Prostitution is not restricted to women. Of late men have become quite visible. A number of Indian newspapers have advertisement for male masseurs who are described as handsome and hygienic. They charge INRs 1000 (Approximately US$ 21) to INRs 3000 (US$ 65). They generally practice safe sex. Due to the taboo attached to male homosexuality in India, these prostitutes are not very open about their trade. In India male homosexuality is illegal and a punishable crime.

Another form of prostitution is in the form of bonded labor, where a female is coerced into prostitution under the guise of repaying a debt. Bonded labor is a crime in India as per the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act of 1976. The Government of India has a scheme to provide financial aid and grants to released bonded laborers and their families.

This type of occupation seems to go against the basis of Indian culture which is founded upon very strong Hindu and Buddhist philosophies. That is why the culture and the society is very strict about it and try to keep it hush but money tends to win out in the end sometimes.

Like any other country, India has its share of brothels and red light area districts. Prostitution in India per se is not illegal but soliciting sex are. However, cities have designated areas as red light areas. One can visit Sonagachi in Kolkata, Kamathipura in Mumbai and GB Road in New Delhi, which are famous red light areas in India and account for thousands of prostitutes.

Indian Prostitutes

Twenty-percent of Indian men surveyed have purported to engage in sexual activities for money. These women openly advertise their services on the internet where men view their photos -- and it is a growing problem in the highly Conservative Indian society.

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