The Legal Status Of Prostitution In India

Malvika Singhal, Delhi Metropolitan Education, GGSIPU


India is a country that is one of the ancient civilizations of the world. With thousands of years of history and culture, some activities are prevalent even in the 21st century. One such practice is 'Prostitution'. Female prostitution marks the inception of the sex industry. According to the constitution of India, every person is at liberty to practice any trade and has a right to live with dignity. But people of the polish section of societies do not consider 'prostitution' as trade and people who are involved in this trade as 'human' with some 'rights and freedom'. As a country, we have come a long way from abolishing Sati Pratha, Dowry, Triple Talaq to the recent decriminalization of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. However, facing away from the fact that prostitution and prostitutes exist as part of the society that we live in, is not going to change anything. This denial has already increased the number of assaults, abuse, and other forms of exploitation of women, young girls, and children. Supreme Court in various pronouncements has hinted towards giving legal status to this trade and protecting the rights of women and children involved in it. This paper is focused on analyzing the origin of prostitution in Indian culture, criticism towards the practice, and judicial intervention regarding the legal status and way of living of those involved in the same.

As Victoria Hugo said, “Slavery still exists but now it only applies to women and it is called Prostitution.”

Keywords: India, Prostitution, sex workers, legalization, supreme court, exploitation

Indian Journal of Law and Legal Research

Abbreviation: IJLLR

ISSN: 2582-8878


Accessibility: Open Access

License: Creative Commons 4.0

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​All research articles published in The Indian Journal of Law and Legal Research are fully open access. i.e. immediately freely available to read, download and share. Articles are published under the terms of a Creative Commons license which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IJLLR or its members. The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of material therein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the IJLLR.