'Recognise rights of women in sex trade, don't legalise it'

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New Delhi, Nov 20: Several women organisations have said the rights of women involved in prostitution should be recognised but that should not be confused with the issue of legitimising sex trade as doing so would make prostitution an employment avenue.

Women involved in prostitution should have the basic citizenship rights, including BPL card, coverage under ICDS, access to free health care, free education for them and their children and freedom from violence and sexual harassment, said Jagmati Sangwan of All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) at a press conference here today.]


"However, this must not be confused with the issue of legitimising sex trade, creating a section of 'sex workers' as an employment avenue, so that women from poor and socially oppressed backgrounds, or even women with little option for alternative employment, fall prey to the pressures of the market economy to serve the interests of the profiteers running this trade," Sangwan said.

The development came in the wake of National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam advocating for legalisation of sex trade in the country.

The NCW chief, however, later clarified that it was her personal opinion. Reacting to the views expressed by the NCW chairperson, Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had recently told PTI that "the issue has not come up to us for any views, When it comes we will see".

"But I would like to say one thing, there are statistics which show that legalising prostitution has not resulted, anywhere in the world, in lessening of violence against women, not even by one per cent. We have to look at things from that aspect also," Gandhi had said. 


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