Hi, everyone, it is time to talk about the business of sex. Prostitution is among the oldest professions in the world. Rulers in ancient India recognized this, and there were roles and rights traditionally granted to them. Prostitution is a grey area in India. Technically, it is not illegal, but activities interdependent (pimping, brothels) with it are not. Police arbitrarily detain sex workers and their clients. Most of the people arrested like this serve as an easy source of bribes to be released in order to prevent embarrassment and are a perpetual source of corrupt earnings for public servants. There are absurdities: “living off the earnings” is illegal and absurdly vague. Have we been saying a prostitute can earn, but not live off her income? His/her family, who may not even know, are committing a crime? This does not prevent prostitution, but it makes individual sex workers vulnerable to crime and exploitation. UNAIDS estimated there were 657,829 prostitutes in India in 2016. That is over 6.5 lakh. It is important to recognize the autonomy of individuals over their own bodies and to stop stigmatizing and marginalizing those among us who have chosen to provide sexual services to others. Equally, it is important to recognize and protect those who have been stripped of choice and exploited into sex work. This is difficult when both live in fear of the law. It is time for India to have a legal sex industry and in order to deter and tackle the real menace of sexual slavery and trafficking.
A temporary Inter-Ministerial Department of Sexual Affairs will be constituted with affiliations to the following ministries:
3) Electronics and Information Technology
5) Home Affairs
7) Law and Justice
8) Information and Broadcasting
9) Social Justice and Empowerment
10) Women and Child Development
The purpose of the Department is to ensure smooth integration of individual professionals, services and products into existing systems. It will retain no long-term tasks and will be dissolved once integration is achieved. Services and businesses related to sex are now legal with strict emphasis on age and consent, including, but not limited to prostitution, pimps, brothels, sexual coaching and counselling.Employing underage sex workers or trafficking women to exploit into the sex trade will result in derecognition of the business and criminal proceedings. Professionals in the sex industry, like any other citizen will be entitled to respect and protection from the police and refusal to file an FIR in the case of crimes against sex workers in particular will attract punitive action.
Raids on private premises without a warrant will not be permitted. Detaining sex workers and forcibly sending them to women’s shelters against their will is illegal. Sex workers who have been forced into prostitution will be entitled to shelter, protection and rehabilitation from the state as necessary. Sex toys and other products related to sex are now legal and will be taxed as adult toys or electronic items and will have to comply with safety standards suitable for intimate products. Creation of porn films will be treated similar to other film making. Porn films featuring underage actors will be illegal. Producers will be required to maintain proof of age and consent for all cast in their films. Both sex work and sex products will come under the usual tax regime for both income tax as well as GST (while GST lasts). Yes, you can ask for a receipt from a brothel. The department will consult with Ministry of Law, Ministry of Women and Child Development and sex worker organizations to establish safe working conditions, healthcare and deter rape porn, sex trafficking and child sexual abuse. The department will also examine laws of other countries and research and findings on their impact and coordinate between representatives of sex workers and the Ministry of Law and Justice to ensure laws that ensure safe working conditions. The department will support Ministries of I&B and Culture in addressing social attitudes and prejudices related to sex workers.
This is uncharted territory and we invite your inputs. You may email them to firstname.lastname@example.org