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Bombay High Court Set Three Sex Workers Free, Reminding People That Women Still Hold The Right To Choose Their Own Vocation.

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There are two types of things in life, one that is looked down upon but secretly indulged a lot in, like sex. And the second, which isn’t just looked down upon but also punishable by law. Sex without consent. And, then there are the things, which often balance themselves at the borderline of offensive and criminal. Like prostitution. You see, prostitution is one such profession, which when forced into is illegal under the provision of law, but if done with due consent and under proper guidelines can’t be punishable. A fact that the Bombay High Court recently clarified, after it set three sex workers free, who were detained at a women’s hostel.

Reinstating and emphasising on the fact that a woman has the right to choose her vocation and cannot be detained without her consent, three sex worker, aged 20, 22 and 23, were set free by the Justice Prithviraj Chavan at the Bombay High Court. 

The sex workers had been detained at a women’s hostel in Uttar Pradesh, after they were caught by a social service branch of the Mumbai Police on September 19, 2019. The three were picked up from Chincholi Bunder area in Malad, after laying a trap using a fake customer to identify women indulging in paid sex practices. The girls were then produced in front of a Magistrate, who rather than handing their custody to the girls’ parents, advised them to be detained at a hostel instead. This decision is said to have been swayed by the notorious and long history of those girls’ community of initiating their girls into prostitution.

Also Read : Pune’s Sex Workers Resume Work With Masks, Gloves And Sanitisers. Most Of Them Want To Change Careers

However, after the matter was moved to the High Court by the girls’ advocate, Justice Prithviraj Chavan observed, “It is important to note that the petitioners / victims are major and, therefore, have a right to reside at the place of their choice, to move freely throughout the territory of India and to choose their own vocation, as enshrined the Constitution of India.” With this, he also talked about how the magistrate, before upholding his previous order, should’ve taken into account the women’s consent before ordering their detention.

He further went on to clarify that the law doesn’t hold the act of prostitution punishable or as a criminal offence but the exploitation or abuse of a person for commercial purposes and soliciting in public places. And that is the border which people often blur the lines of, sometimes even Magistrate judges.

The single judge bench also went on to say that while the the state government can, under the PITA act, seek directions from the court to send such women to corrective homes or institutions. Their fundamental rights would always stand on a higher pedestal vis-à-vis the statutory right or any other right conferred by a general law. And that the interest of women being given precedence in the matter was something that gave us all the more hope that the law would at least not let women get exploited by brushing their consent under the carpet.

Also Read : In Germany, Sex Workers Protest The Continued Closure Of Their Work. It’s More Dangerous For Them To Solicit On The Streets

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