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NCW to propose legalisation of prostitution

The issue was brought up last week by the NCW after Mate Mahadevi, head of a Karnataka-based religious community, voiced support for the legalisation of prostitution. This has drawn the NDA government’s attention.

Vatsala Shrangi  25th Oct 2014

The National Commission for Women is all set to present its proposal on "legalising prostitution" in the Cabinet. NCW chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam will table the proposal in an empowered committee meeting of the Cabinet on 8 November. The issue was brought up last week by the NCW in after Mate Mahadevi, head of a Karnataka-based religious community, voiced support for the legalisation of prostitution. This has drawn the NDA government's attention.

The NCW chief, soon after the debate, came out in favour of legalising flesh trade, saying it will reduce exploitation. "We are supposed to put forward our stance on the matter in the empowered committee meeting next month. We will begin drafting the proposal shortly," she told The Sunday Guardian.

She further said that legalising will help regulate the trade and provide far better working conditions for the women in it. "This will help frame rules on how sex workers should be treated. They must have access to health check-ups and be able to provide their children a normal life with access to proper education, medical benefits and sanitation etc. This will also make sure that clients are less prone to infection and the rate of unwanted reproduction in women is brought down," said Kumaramanglam. "While sex workers are arrested during police raids, the traffickers and brokers get away. Legalising will bring them under the scanner," she added.

Notably, a similar debate on the issue was sparked in 2004, when the then NCW chief Poornima Advani stood against the cause. Advani had strongly advocated that "paid sex" was not work and hence, could not be "legalised". However, when asked if the government and the RSS — its parent body — would be on the same page on the issue, Kumaramanglam said, "In a country like India, it is difficult to have everyone on the same page. But we have to arrive at a consensus on issues like these for the better. We have come a long way since 2004 where social attitudes have changed. I believe it will be more acceptable now."

Meanwhile, the commission is going to work closely with the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) on several matters including the draft bill on giving more powers to the NCW, it is learnt.

 
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