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Sex workers are no longer culprits. They are victims.

With an Indian Parliamentary panel giving its in-principle nod to proposed amendments in the law against flesh trade, women found soliciting for prostitution will be treated as victims rather than culprits and the focus will be on taking action against pimps and agents.

Sex workers are no longer culpritsThe Parliamentary committee, which is studying the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Amendment Bill of 2006 that was tabled in the last session of Parliament, has agreed in-principle for removing Section 8 of the law to protect women from further victimisation.

Section 8 of the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act of 1956 deals with seducing or soliciting for prostitution and there have been complaints that it has been routinely misused by police and that the maximum number of arrests are made under it.

The panel, headed by Congress MP Janardan Dwivedi, observed in its report on the amendment bill that this has resulted in the harassment and punishment of sex workers instead of conviction of perpetrators of crimes, traffickers and pimps.

"However, the Committee recommends that a suitable clause may be added in the Bill itself to take action against the pimps, procurers, perpetrators, agents and other exploiters with self-interest, for soliciting," the panel said in its report.

The panel, however, took note of reservations on deletion of Section 8 raised by Delhi and a few states like Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan and noted that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is also not in favour of such a move.


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12/2008 02/2009


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