Sex Work and Prostitution: Empowerment or Oppression?

Sex work and prostitution in India is not something unknown. Everyone knows it happens, like in any other society, but they remain critical about it.

The women in India who are in this profession are banished from the society, and often have to live isolated lives. Most of these women who end up in flesh trade are exploited and are often trafficked. They don’t have a choice as they don’t know any other way of life. They are forced into this modern-day slavery from when they are young girls. While the police does its fair share of raids, trying to save these girls from their unfortunate lives, there is another section of sex workers who do it by choice.

Many older women, usually in the poorer sections of society take up prostitution as a means to support their families. Some are abandoned by their husbands and have no way of making any money and supporting their children. These women are not very educated, so they take up prostitution because it is easy money. Can we really blame them? Is it so wrong if they are able to feed themselves and their children?

Abraar Karan, a physician, visited the rural compound of Prajwala, a rehabilitation centre for women in prostitution. These women have been rescued from brothels and are given a space to live and work at Prajwala. Abraar wrote in NPR,

What is surprising is that a number of women wanted to go back to their previous life as a prostitute. Unlike those in child trafficking, many of them are in their mid-30s when they become sex workers. For these women, being held at an NGO for their ‘own protection’ was not particularly appreciated.

Even though prostitution may not be the regular profession one would choose to make money, it is an option for those who are okay with doing it to become financially stable. What the government should be focussing on is to give women and girls sex education from a young age. The taboo of sex in the Indian society has caused a lot of harm to women, in ways of sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, unwanted pregnancies and even deaths while giving birth.

It is unfair to judge the women who are in this work because they go through more hardships than we can imagine.

There are also psychological effects that no one talks about. Each woman has a different story that can be complicated and painful. As individuals, we should focus on giving the right information to those around us who need it, rather than judging them blatantly.

Pic credits: Forbes India

Also read: School For Justice: Turning Survivors Of Human Trafficking Into Lawyers

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