In Indian society, prostitution has always been an unavoidable reality. It is
mentioned in the ages-old Mahabharata and continues to exist clandestinely now
all over the nation. Sex trading is prevalent throughout India, whether it is in
the well-known Sonagachi neighbourhood of Kolkata or the remote villages of
Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur region. The sex industry is the most isolated and
unappreciated segment of society, and these locations are frequently referred to
as "Redlight zones."
Nobody is interested in their situation. At midnight, the market for commercial
prostitution begins, and by daylight, it has ended. The children of these sex
workers have no future because they live in the worst circumstances possible
with regard to access to food, health care, education, and happiness. Their
childhood memories of seeing those male customers enter the brothels, and
occasionally everything that happens there, are erased. They experience stress
and psychological distress.
Prostitutes are a segment of society that has long gone unnoticed and
undiscussed. We highlight them as a red-light area, but the major highlight in
terms of development, safety, and medical assistance is completely lacking on
our part. It is not that we lack legislation to govern them; rather, the
legislation is never implemented so that they can benefit from it. This is a
profession that other sections of society think about the least because there is
a preconceived notion that brothels are always associated with something bad and
against society's norms.
This vulnerable segment of society includes children who are born without an
identity. Recognizing these children is necessary to prevent their future from
being added to the already existing list of prostitutes. Because no one except
NGOs or government officials has ever visited these areas, this section is
unknown to the rest of the world.
Although the profession is not wrong because it is a practise for sustaining
life, it is allegedly advised not to include children in the same because they
are unaware of the larger story their mothers are associated with. The children
born out of brothels are similar to all other children, but the former lacks
opportunities and advice which the latter possess. The existing legislation lays
out how children born in brothels can be made to feel secure and have a normal
upbringing, but laws and society can only coexist if they coexist. The mere
existence of law is rendered meaningless when society fails to adopt and apply
Millions of children around the world have different upbringings than others due
to the environment into which they are born. Children are regarded as the
nation's future, and thus the necessity of protecting these children should be
adopted and cared for. This can be accomplished by utilising legal support in
the form of legislation and statutes to identify these children and assist them
in leading a good, normal life free of negativity.
Growing Up In Brothels
When a child grows up, he or she is surrounded by a family, providing an
environment in which to live freely, dream freely, play, learn, and develop
without much hindrance or impediment, because they have parents to guide them.
Certain aspects of a normal childhood are missing in children born in brothels.
Perhaps because of the children's past, they are unable to have a normal
childhood. Most of the time, the mothers of these children prefer not to reveal
the father's name. As a result, the child in his or her growing years sees the
world solely from his or her own perspective, with little guidance.
The environment in which the children grow is a brothel environment. A boy or a
girl in the brothel will meet children from similar backgrounds, which makes no
difference, because each of them suffers as a result of their birth in such a
place. Few of them were able to reach out to the outside world with the
assistance of social workers and government officials in order to pursue
education and, ultimately, their dreams.
Several surveys conducted or are currently being conducted on the children of
brothels reveal that all such children have caged dreams. Several foreign
officials were granted access to India's red-light districts, where children
were interviewed about their daily lives. The majority of the interviews
revealed that they are given weekly assistance in the form of food and education
by NGOs, and the majority of them gather because of the food.
It was because of the environment they belong to and are associated with, it is
difficult for children in brothels to develop an interest in learning. NGOs from
across the country have been working to normalize the lives of these children by
providing them with opportunities. However, the issues surrounding the brothels
have the greatest impact on the children born in them.
Every child in this brothel wishes to be heard and cared for because they have
no idea what the term "normal" means because the environment they are in is
normal for them. Gender discrimination is another social issue that is
associated with this segment of society.
Few children have access to school and education, and the majority of girls are
forced to follow in their mothers' footsteps if they are girls. Mothers are
rarely able to care for their children because they are involved in their
profession. This makes it easier for children to grow up in the wrong way and
become involved in more illegal activities in society.
Many of them become addicted to drugs, which has a long-term impact on their
lives. Due to a lack of guidance and education, these children are forced to
engage in fraudulent activities, making them more likely to commit crimes in
There have also been instances where the child worked as manual labour to
support himself. On the contrary, the government is attempting to implement the
legislation known as The Child Labor Act, 1986 in a variety of ways in order to
completely eliminate child labor from the country. Our country guarantees
fundamental rights to every citizen in the country, including children. The
Right to Education Act, 2009 was enacted by the Indian Parliament under the
broad definition of the right to life under Article 21-A of the Indian
Constitution to provide compulsory education to children aged 6 to 14 years.
As a result, access to free and compulsory education is a fundamental right
guaranteed to every child from birth. Children born in brothels are denied
certain rights that are granted to all other children. Furthermore, the right to
life and personal liberty guaranteed by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution
includes the right to live in dignity, free from exploitation.
The Supreme Court of India stated in the case of Bandhua Mukti Morcha v.
Union of India
that the right to life includes the right to life with human
dignity that is free of any kind of exploitation. Life in brothels can never be
idealised as free of exploitation. However, children born from the same can be
given this right to ensure a good life now and in the future.
Right to shelter: In the case of Chameli Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh
the court ruled that the right to shelter is a guaranteed fundamental right
under Article 21 of the Constitution, and it is also enforceable. For the
economic background in which they are born and raised, children born in brothels
do not have this right. Most of them grow up on their own in the environment in
which their mothers work, and they survive there. As a result, providing these
children with the right to shelter is a critical requirement.
Right to health and medical assistance: Children born in brothels do not receive
the proper care and medical guidance that every child requires. Immunization is
required to keep a child from becoming ill on a regular basis. Vaccinations are
available to develop resistance to any virus effect or infection. Medicines and
basic aid are still unavailable for children born in brothels because it is
difficult to reach them.
If they are also given it, the fact that they do not know how to use it will
render it useless. The environment exposes children in these areas to a variety
of diseases and infections. As a result, these children benefit from monthly
Children in brothels are frequently subjected to child trafficking, beggary, and
sex trafficking due to a lack of care, guidance, and education. These children
are forced to participate in inhumane activities that make their lives in this
world miserable. The children have no way out of the situation that has been
designed for them. It has been observed in several cases that the mother is
forced by the situation to sell her children for money.
The world within the brothel is dark, and it is one that those outside of it
cannot comprehend. As a result, the right to life includes the right to be free
from inhuman treatment, particularly in the case of children.
Furthermore, Articles 23 and 24 of the Indian Constitution separately guarantee
the right against exploitation, with the latter focusing on the exploitation of
children. Article 24 of the Constitution states that forced labour by children
is an offence under this provision. Children are forced to work in mines,
factories, and restaurants, which can be hazardous to their health.
The most important goal of any law governing children in brothels is to avoid
creating situations in which children are forced to enter the profession of
prostitution and spend the rest of their lives in the brothel. There are cases
where children born in brothels, as previously discussed, are subjected to child
labour as a means of survival.
The above scenarios suggest that children who are born and raised in brothels
suffer mentally, psychologically, and socially throughout their lives. The only
right that children in brothels have in abundance is freedom. However, if not
regulated, this freedom can give rise to an entirely different scenario.
So many stories about these children go unheard and unnoticed. This ignorance
may prove to be detrimental to society in the future. Movies, documentaries,
articles, and discussions have all been produced or are currently being produced
to promote the lives of children in brothels.
Laws Governing Children In Brothels
Child Rights are the rights that every child has regardless of where they are
born. Child Rights are a subset of Human Rights that focuses specifically on
children. Like the previously mentioned fundamental rights, there are a set of
rights known as child rights that must be provided to every child.
The right to develop includes education as a key component, as well as cultural
activities and recreation. To simplify whatever is required for a child's basic
The right to survive entails identification, access to food for nutrition, and
the ability to live freely.
Participation in decision-making, expression, and speaking
The right to be protected from all negative elements.
Violation of these rights is common and easy to commit because they are, after
all, children. Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights outline the factors that must be considered as a basic need for any man,
woman, or child. These elements are also mentioned in the Indian Constitution.
The goal is to provide the essence of living to any human being.
The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act of 1956 is recognised legislation that
protects those working in brothels and their children. This Act makes sexual
exploitation of both men and women a punishable offence. The Act needed to be
revised because it failed to focus on and provide comprehensive provisions for
the children of prostitutes.
This Act was amended in 2018 when the Lok Sabha passed the Immoral Traffic
(Prevention) Amendment Bill, which primarily addressed the social issue of child
trafficking, which has been on the rise in the country. According to the United
Nations Children's Fund (UNCF), several children from vulnerable sections of
society are trafficked each year.
The Rescue and Rehabilitation of Children and Minors Act, 1986 directed a
magistrate to order police officials to arrest any person who initiates the
profession of prostitution in a brothel, and the children of brothels are to be
rescued under the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986, thereby providing care and
protection. At the moment, the Juvenile Justice Act has been replaced by the
Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, which aims to protect children from any illegal
activities that constitute an offence under the relevant statutes, as well as to
provide a reasonable amount of care and protection to those children. The
majority of trafficked children have gone untraced for an extended period of
Child trafficking is a type of child prostitution. Child prostitution is defined
by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as "sexual
exploitation of a child under the age of 18 in exchange for remuneration."
Furthermore, according to a report prepared by the Ministry of Human Resource
Development, Government of India, about 30% of child prostitution occurs in the
cities of Calcutta, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi. According to this report, all
of the cities mentioned are highly developed, metropolitan cities that are
mostly urban in origin and are able to provide basic amenities to their
The Indian Constitution's Directive Principles of State Policy have also proven
to be beneficial to females in terms of several socio-legal legislations.
Articles 39(e) and 39(f) aim to promote the welfare of children regardless of
where they belong. While the former protects men, women, and children from abuse
at a young age, the latter emphasises the importance of providing children with
opportunities to grow and develop in a healthy environment in order to protect
their youth. Along with civil liabilities, there are also criminal liabilities.
The procreation of any minor girl child from one place to another is punishable
under Section 366 A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
The Criminal Procedure Code of 1973 is another important statute that protects
minor girls and women from exploitation. Section 98 of the same statute provides
for immediate relief for any girl or woman who has been unlawfully detained. As
previously stated, The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act,
2000 elevated and better recognised and guaranteed child rights, as the Act
elaborated under its domain the need for development, care, protection,
education, and rehabilitation. This Act broadly recognised two objects, which
- Providing protection and care to children who require it
- Dealing with juveniles who have run a foul of the law.
Both of these aspects are relevant when viewed through the lens of the issue at
hand, specifically children born in brothels. Care is the basic need of those
children for the environment in which they live and are raised. Similarly,
protecting juveniles who have been in conflict with the law is as important as
providing care for them, because children born in brothels are influenced in the
wrong direction due to a lack of guidance and education. Those who commit crimes
must be sent to a rehabilitation centre in order to avoid similar confrontations
in the future.
The Information Technology Act of 2000, as well as all other statutes, must be
mentioned. This is due to the fact that child pornography has become a new
method of child trafficking. Section 67 of the Act criminalises the practise by
declaring it illegal. A lot happens in this world of digitalisation without the
affected individual knowing much about it. If the same is done to the children
of brothels, it will be difficult to be compensated for such an offence, so the
implementation of such an Act is critical.
The statutes mentioned above are some of those that can protect a child born in
a brothel because a child born in a brothel is no different than a normal child,
but the only difference is that these children from a vulnerable section of
society are subjected to exploitation in a larger way than normal children who
are privileged to be provided with more than just basic necessities.
Decisions On Legislation On Laws Governing The Brothels
The landmark judgement issued by the Supreme Court of India in the case of
Gaurav Jain v. Union of India
provided the necessary recognition to children
born in brothels. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that children born in
brothels to prostitutes have the right to equality in terms of the opportunity
to be on par with other children in society, as well as the necessary dignity,
care, and protection measures, as well as rehabilitation, to make these children
feel like they are a part of society at large and to remove the stigma that
others in society have attached to them.
Sakshi v. Union of India is a case in point. The Supreme Court ruled that
Sections 375 and 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, must be amended to protect
children who have been sexually abused. This decision makes it clear that the
court wishes to provide a better future for children born in brothels or from
vulnerable sections of society who require guidance and care to have a bright
future. There haven't been many court decisions concerning children in brothels
or prostitutes in general. However, whatever the court has observed has had a
positive impact on the profession and its associates.
Books, interviews, videos, and movies all provide evidence that infants born in
brothels face a number of social disadvantages. When they interact with society
outside of the brothel, the prejudice they have already experienced because of
their origin is still present.
NGOs are making every effort to connect with these kids and give them the
knowledge and necessities that every other kid needs. Due to the lack of
possibilities, opportunities to grow, and consideration from the outside world,
they are unable to utilise their latent skills.
Many young people are still stuck in the profession, especially girls and boys
who are either involved in drug peddling or other crimes that will make their
lives difficult in the future. One job that is acknowledged as both legal and
criminal in different nations is prostitution.
There is no need for acknowledgement, but there is a lack of safety and
assistance for the children born in the brothels. Children need the outside
world to grow and fly and not allow their dreams to be constrained within the
four walls of the brothel they are born in if they are to provide a better
future for themselves in terms of security financially, physically, mentally,
socially, and in terms of learning opportunities and the scope for establishing
themselves. Legally speaking, babies born in brothels have the same rights and
obligations as other babies born outside of the establishment.
They are both equally normal. The only thing the law can do is integrate these
kids into society's mainstream along with the rest of the population. Then,
equality in concrete terms can be accomplished. Since these kids are our future,
society as a whole must take responsibility for them. Our obligation and
responsibility is to respect and safeguard them. Therefore, it is necessary to
provide these kids with what they are receiving.
Judicial Decision Of The Issue
The Supreme Court has rendered significant rulings affirming the rights of
children of sex workers and ordering the government to work toward their
development and rehabilitation. In the case of Gaurav Jain v. Union of India,
the Supreme Court noted that upholding these children's rights is a duty on the
part of the government and ruled that they are entitled to equality of
opportunity, dignity, care, protection, and rehabilitation in order to integrate
into society without stigma or discrimination.
Women who work in brothels frequently fail to tell their kids who their father
is. In the case of ABC v. The State (NCT of Delhi)
, the Supreme Court
ruled that single mothers who raise their children alone cannot be forced to
reveal the father's identity to them and that the mother must be regarded as the
child's only parent for all legal purposes. The Supreme Court pushed for its
opinion to change sections 375 and 376 of the prevent sexual abuse of children
in the case Sakshi v. Union of India.
These kids who are susceptible to violence and sexual assault now have hope
thanks to the verdict.