Prostitution in India has always been a source of social distress and controversy. On the one hand it is an inhuman and illegal act that stains the image of India. On the other hand it is also a legal act that has various shades of gray. Prostitution in India has gone through several legal alterations and reforms over the decades. Legal loopholes in the Act have been successfully tackled by the Government of India.
The social evils of prostitution are very grave. Prostitution results in countless women and girls trapped in the vicious circle of life where they are violated physically, mentally and emotionally. It is a common thing to hear about the case of a young woman who has been prostituted over a period of five to seven years. There are several cases of child prostitution, and sexual abuse involving minor girls and boys.
Though prostitution is an immoral business it is still legal in the vast majority of the countries. Prostitution can be categorized into three types, there are the commercial sex trade, brothel houses and street prostitution. Prostitution has been legal in most of the countries since centuries. In ancient times, it was the only source of earning income for the women of a country. However, after the coming of commercialization and industrialization of the way people used to earn income has changed.
Prostitution is illegal under all laws of the world. Various countries have different sets of sexual crimes and their definition is also different. Prostitution is considered as an act of sexual promiscuousness. In many countries the act of prostitution is not only a criminal offense but also an act of dishonor. In some countries it is an act of trafficking and is a crime against humanity. These definitions do not coincide with ours.
Prostitution is not considered as a legal business in most of the countries. The sexual services industry is prohibited by law in many countries. Under these circumstances, the prostitutes are either arrested or put in jail. A person who engaged in the prostitution act may also be fined or punished to different degrees. For example, a person convicted of soliciting a prostitute could be punished by paying a fine, imprisonment for a period ranging from one month to three years or the Prosecution may also seek the removal of his name from the sex offender’s list.
Prostitution has been treated as a sexual offense even before the coming into existence of the law. It was declared illegal in certain countries including France, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. Since then, several other countries have formulated their own prostitution laws with stiff penalties for those involved in the prostitution and sex trade.