SC Recognises Prostitution As Profession, Says Sex Workers Are Entitled To Equal Protection Of Law

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NEW DELHI: In a significant step providing legal protection to sex workers and recognising sex work as a “profession”, the Supreme Court has directed police forces in all states and Union Territories not to initiate criminal action against adult and consenting sex workers.

The court said that sex workers have the right to live with dignity notwithstanding their “profession”.

“Sex workers are entitled to equal protection of the law. Criminal law must apply equally in all cases on the basis of age and consent. When it is clear that the sex worker is an adult and is participating with consent, the police must refrain from interfering or taking any criminal action. It need not be gainsaid that notwithstanding the profession, every individual in this country has the right to a dignified life under Article 21 of the Constitution,” said a bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, B R Gavai and A S Bopanna.

Issuing a slew of directions, the bench said the constitutional protection that is given to all individuals in this country shall be kept in mind by the authorities who have a duty under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956.

(With Agency Inputs)

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