The Supreme Court of India has ordered the police to refrain from interfering and taking criminal action against consenting sex workers.
An order issued by the Supreme Court of India in a case has stated that the police should not interfere in the sex work of adults with self-consent.
Further, the Supreme Court held that prostitution is an occupation and that sex workers should not be prosecuted under the law and that they should be treated with dignity and not as criminals.
The three-judge bench, headed by Justice L Nageshwara Rao, issued six guidelines to protect the rights of sex workers.
The session said, “Sex workers have the right to equal protection under the law. Criminal law should be applied equally in all cases on the basis of age and consent. If it is clear that the sex worker is an adult and participates with consent, police intervention or criminal action should be avoided. Needless to say, under Article 21 of the Constitution, every individual in this country has the right to a dignified life, regardless of occupation.
Sex workers should not be arrested, punished, harassed or subjected to trials in brothels because voluntary sex work is not illegal, only running a brothel is illegal.
The court ruled that the child of a sex worker should not lose maternal care for the reason that she is involved in the sex industry. “The basic protection of human morality and dignity extends to sex workers and their children,” the session said.
The court also advised that if the crimes against sex workers are sexual, they should not be discriminated against. Sex workers who are sexually abused should be provided with all facilities, including immediate medical-legal care.
“The attitude of the police towards sex workers is often seen as brutal and violent. Their rights are like a class whose recognition is not recognized, ”the court said, calling it emotional.
“During the arrests, raids and rescue operations, the media should pay close attention to the fact that the media should not publish or broadcast any photographs that reveal the identities of sex workers, whether they are victims or accused,” the court said.
The bench noted that the use of condoms “should not be considered by the police as evidence of a sex worker’s crime.
“In the meantime, sex workers may be allowed to stay in these homes and may be released if the magistrate decides that the sex worker has consented,” the order said. The court ordered the federal government to respond to these recommendations at the next hearing on July 27.
Also, Voyeurism is a criminal offense, the court said. (Voyeurism is the practice of having sexual intercourse with others while they are naked or having sex)
The court pointed out that both federal and state governments should involve sex workers or their representatives in the process of reforming the law.