Prostitution basically means providing sexual favors in return for money. Like other forms of violence that are committed against women by men, prostitution is another one of the gender-specific issue because the majority of the victims are women.

Prostitution is considered one of the oldest professions in the world. It is a billion-dollar industry. Prostitution is considered taboo in India, not discussed openly, and frequently frowned upon. 


Prostitution in India is an age-old profession. It started during the time of the Mughals when the Kings and the Ministers used women. This even continued during the time of British rule in India when they were treated as mere sex objects. There were a group of women for this purpose and later their heirs were also subjected to sex work. This then led to the use of women, who continued prostitution as they were poor and this was the easiest way to make some money.

Laws related to prostitution:

According to the Indian Penal Code, prostitution in its broader sense is not really illegal per se but there are certain activities that constitute a major part of prostitution are punishable.



Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA) defines prostitution as the sexual exploitation or abuse of a female for monetary purposes and a prostitute is the person who gains that commercial benefit. This act was passed in 1956 and is also referred to as SITA. This law essentially states that prostitutes are allowed to commence their trade in private but they cannot carry their business in public. As per the act, the clients can be arrested if found guilty of engaging in a sexual act in public.

A woman cannot indulge in commercial sex within 200 yards of a public place. Sex workers cannot be put under the ambit of the existent labor laws considering how distinguished their profession is but they have all the rights of any given Indian citizen and are entitled to be rescued and rehabilitated if they want.

The following sentences detail the main features of SITA: Section 2(f) defined prostitution as the act of a female who offered her body for promiscuous sexual intercourse for hire…According to this definition, there is no mention of men or trans community. This establishes the punishment of up to 3 months for a woman who engages in prostitution within 200 yards of a public place.


There are mainly two kinds of arguments that arise on the topic of prostitution. The first one is whether prostitution is a profession or a business. Prostitution is a kind of vocation. It cannot be done by everyone and can only be done by people or women essentially with a specific skill set. It can hence be considered a profession.

Prostitution can also be considered a business when it is done by people in a brothel. A sufficient amount of money is received when prostitution is done by a ring or group of women together.

In India, owning and managing is brothel is illegal while prostitution is legal.

whether prostitution is against public morality, decency and is obscene. Sex work is done by people as a profession and is not attracted by the reasonable restriction of Art. 19(1)(g).

Article 19(1)(g) provides for the fundamental right of every citizen to exercise the trade, profession, or occupation of his choice, but at the same time imposes restrictions on the choice of such trade, profession, or of this company.

Nothing in this section confers the right to engage in any profession, trade, or business which is unlawful under the law. 

Section 19(6) gives Parliament broad powers to pass laws restricting certain types of businesses, trades or professions for the benefit of society. India is a socialist country so every law should be passed by parliament keeping the welfare of science in mind. 

To what extent Article 19(6) can introduce restrictions?

The restrictions under these Terms are limited only by reasonableness. This means that restrictions imposed on individuals must not be arbitrary and must be consistent with the public interest, decency, and public order. The plausibility of the object must be determined objectively. It is necessary to link the restriction to its objective, which must be in the public interest. The prohibition of a fundamental right to engage in professional, commercial, or commercial activities is considered unreasonable if it is exercised not in the public interest but taking into account the sensitivities and feelings of a part of the community

The Indian Penal Code

The IPC enumerates that anyone who buys or sells or obtains the possession of anyone under the age of 18 years for the purpose of prostitution or illicit intercourse.. or for an unlawful or immoral purpose.. or knowing it to be likely that such person will at any age be employed or used for any such purpose.. or knowing it to be likely that such person will at any age be employed or used for any such purpose.. is to be imprisonment for upto 10 years.

The provision related to rape under IPC also applies to the rape of a brothel inmate. The IPC defines rape as an act of sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent or with her consent but under threat or fears of death or injury, or with her consent when she is not aware of the consequences of her consent or with or without consent when she is under 16 years of age.

The minimum punishment for rape is 7 years of imprisonment under IPC. These provisions are applicable to brothel owners, brothel staff, and customers when they engage in sexual intercourse with minors or with women who are forcefully kept in the brothels.

Legalization of Prostitution

In remarkable order by Supreme Court recognizing sex work as a “profession” and are entitled to dignity and equal protection under the law, the court says that every individual in this country has a right to a dignified life under Article 21 of the Constitution,”

A bench of three- judges led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao directed an order which was passed after raising special powers under Article 142 of the Constitution.

“Sex workers are allowed equal protection of the law. Criminal law must apply equally in age and consent in all cases. When it is clear that the sex worker is an adult and is contributing with consent, the police must not to interfering or taking any criminal action,”





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