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A prostitute is a person, "who allows her body to be used for lewd purposes in return for payment". Prostitution is the sale of sexual services, such as oral sex or sexual intercourse, for money. Prostitution the word itself speaks about the plight of a women .It is not a problem which exists in India but exists throughout the world. Prostitution was a part of daily life in ancient Greece .In the more important cities, and particularly the many ports, it employed a significant proportion of the population and represented one of the top levels of economic activity. In the ancient city of Heliopolis in Syria, there was a law that stated that every maiden should prostitute herself to strangers at the temple of Astarte.
In Armenia the noblest families dedicated their daughters to the service of the goddess Anaitis in her temple at Acilisena.In ancient India prostitutes have been referred as to devdasis. Originally, devadasi were celibate dancing girls used in temple ceremonies and they entertained members of the ruling class.
But sometime around the 6th Century, the practice of "dedicating" girls to Hindu gods became prevalent in a practice that developed into ritualized prostitution. Devadasi literally means God’s (Dev) female servant (Dasi), where according to the ancient Indian practice, young pre-pubertal girls are ‘married off’, ‘given away’ in matrimony to God or Local religious deity of the temple. The marriage usually occurs before the girl reaches puberty and requires the girl to become a prostitute for upper-caste community members. Such girls are known as jogini.
They are forbidden to enter into a real marriage. The system of devadasi started only after the fall of Buddhism and records about them start appearing around 1000 A.D. [Bharatiya Sanskruti Kosh, IV, 448]. It is viewed that the Devadasi`s are the Buddhist nuns who were degraded to the level of prostitutes after their temples were taken over by Brahmins during the times of their resurgence after the fall of Buddhism. According to the 1934 Devadasi Security Act, this practice is banned in India.
This ban was reinforced again in 1980s but the law is broken every day. Poverty and ‘Untouchablity’ contribute to the persistence of this terrible practice. Reference to dancing girls in temples is found in Kalidasa's "Meghadhoot". The popularity of devadasis seems to have reached its pinnacle around 10th and 11th century CE. The rise and fall in the status of devadasis can be seen to be running parallel to the rise and fall of Hindu temples. The devdasi system was mostly prevalent in southern India and it reached its height during the Chola Empire.
Though government has taken adequate steps in order to combat with the problem of devdasi, even the devdasi prohibition act was not fully successful in solving the problem in India. Most important reason still being poverty, ignorance and hunger which are forcing them to this kind of exploitation. Now this was the old story or the beginning of prostitution apart from these there is also references of prostitution in Kama sutra written by Vatsyayana sometime between the second and fourth centuries A.C.E.
India is home today to Asia's largest red-light district--Mumbai's infamous Kamathipura, which originated as a massive brothel for British occupiers and shifted to a local clientele following Indian independence. The Mughal Empire (1526 -1857) also witnessed prostitution the word “tawaif” and mujra became common during this era. During the Mughal era in the subcontinent (1526 to 1857) prostitution had a strong nexus with performing arts. Mughals patronized prostitution which raised the status of dancers and singers to higher levels of prostitution. King Jahangir’s harem had 6,000 mistresses which denoted authority, wealth and power. Even during the British era prostitution flourished the famous kamathipura a red light area in Bombay was built during this era for the refreshment of British troops and which was later taken over by Indian sex workers.
The prostitution continued from ancient and medieval india and has taken a more gigantic outlook in modern india, the devdasi system still continues ,according to a report of National Human Rights Commission of the Government of India,” after initiation as devadasis, women migrate either to nearby towns or other far-off cities to practise prostitution”.
The practice of dedicating devadasis was declared illegal by the Government of Karnataka in 1982 and the Government of Andhra Pradesh in 1988. However the practice is still prevalent in around 10 districts of north Karnataka and 14 districts in Andhra Pradesh. Districts bordering Maharashtra and Karnataka, known as the "devadasi belt," have trafficking structures operating at various levels. The women here are in prostitution either because their husbands deserted them, or they are trafficked through coercion and deception. Many are devadasi dedicated into prostitution for the goddess Yellamma.
Causes of prostitution:· Ill treatment by parents.
· Bad company.
· Family prostitutes.
· Social customs.
· inability to arrange marriage,
· Lack of sex education, media.
· Prior incest and rape.
· Early marriage and desertion.
· Lack of recreational facilities, ignorance, and acceptance of prostitution.
· Economic causes include poverty and economic distress.
· Psychological causes include desire for physical pleasure, greed, and dejection.
Notorious red light districts of India include GB Road in Delhi, Sonagachi in Kolkata, Kamathipura in Mumbai, Budhwar Peth in Pune and Reshampura in Gwalior. There are around 2.8 million prostitutes in the country and their number is increasing, as informed by Lok Sabha. Most of the girls are brought from Nepal and Bangladesh. ''Young girls are trafficked from Nepal to brothels in Mumbai and Kolkata at an average age of twelve. They are trapped into the vicious cycle of prostitution, debt and slavery. By the time they are in their mid-twenties, they are at the dead end. In modern India different kinds of prostitution is prevailing apart from prostitutes in brothel there are:
· Street prostitutes
· Bar dancers
· Call girls
· Religious prostitutes
· Escort girls
· Road side brothel
· Child prostitutes
· Fricatrice prostitutes
· Gimmick prostitutes
· Beat prostitutes
Every hour, four women and girls in India enter prostitution, three of them against their will.
Prostitution is a problem in itself and child prostitution is making it more complex. Quoting a study on 'Girls/Women in prostitution in India', Minister for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury said that out of the total number of prostitutes in the country, 35.47 per cent entered the trade before the age of 18 years. Though in cases like Gaurav jain vs. Union of India direction where given for the upliftment of prostitutes and establishment of the juvenile home for the children’s of prostitutes.
Laws related to prostitution in India:
Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girl Act -1956
Prevention of Immoral Traffic Act-1956
Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act-1956 The Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act, 1956 ("ITPA"), the main statute
dealing with sex work in India, does not criminalise prostitution or
prostitutes per se, but mostly punishes acts by third parties facilitating
prostitution like brothel keeping, living off earnings and procuring, even
where sex work is not coerced.
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