“Prostitution, cud b a necessity, a compulsion or simply a choice? its such a deep rooted social existence, that nw, if uprooted wud leave possibly too many ppl unemployed, n ostracized.i wonder, is it such a moral issue?(if taken up by choice?)”
~This was one comment I received on my previous post - A Walk in the Rain. I started replying to this in the comment box itself, but it got too long that I decided to turn it into a post. But I would like to make it clear that I am not lashing out on the person who wrote it. Because the person was only voicing a viewpoint which most of us share. So this is just an attempt at setting some facts straight~
"Prostitution, cud b a necessity, a compulsion or simply a choice? "
I got the last two parts.. but NECESSITY???? Why wud prostitution hv be a NECESSITY????
"Its such a deep rooted social existence, that nw, if uprooted wud leave possibly too many ppl unemployed, n ostracized.".. I completely agree with this.. It is only gonna make matters worse if we just ban prostitution, fold our hands and watch... I remember a couple of years back in Kerala, where I hail from, the govt had introduced strict measures to curb prostitution. It only gave the police more reason to raid public places and demand more money from prostitutes in the pretext of ‘cleansing’ society of immoral traffic. Conditions had become so bad that women started selling their bodies for as low as Rs 25!!!
Now the govt and a lot of NGOs have initiated a more structured approach to the whole issue which attempts at addressing the root cause… In 1997 the Health Intervention Program was launched. As part of this program, first and foremost, these women were issued ration cards, id cards which gave them voting rights and officially reframed the word "prostitutes" to "sex workers".. Guys.. This may sound funny to mentally secured ppl like us.. But I think the fundamental thing an individual needs is an IDENTITY, which these women are deprived of and this gesture went a long way to give them just that… For ppl whose lives r filled with the dearth of hope to a better living, any ray of light can breathe life itself…
As a next stage in the program, these women were given basic awareness abt AIDS, condoms and counseled abt dictating terms to ensure their safety.. Friends.. u wud be shocked at the torture these ppl are made to suffer.. I read somewher that in US abt 87% of prostitutes have succumbed to torture in some way or the other!!! You can only imagine what the numbers would be like in India. I cannot even fathom what element of sexual pleasure it gives a man when he tortures another human being!!!
Then these women were taught stitching, weaving, typewriting.. Some of them surprisingly displayed immense talent in pottery and painting.. This gave them something to fall back on and attempted at empowering these economically handicapped women.. It did help in atleast revealing a trace of light at the end of a long tunnel and giving them a choice to be able to atleast think of quitting prostitution and taking up another means of living...
I know this initiative has many bottlenecks.. First of al the geographic penetration is very limited.. Its not yet been taken to the interiors wher the problem is more prevalent.. Besides I wonder hw truly effective it has been considering the mentality of our society.. Questions like 'who wud employ these women?' remain unanswered.. Although there are many NGOs who have started cottage industries to employ these women, they are very few in number. Financial resources and manpower in the form of volunteers are always a constraint. And there will always be men knowing that she was once a prostitute trying to take advantage of her vulnerability… Thus it becomes a vicious circle these women are trapped in. I think our society has a long way to go in terms of maturing and opening up their minds to embrace an individual into a new life regardless of the person’s past...
Besides these, certain other 'Moral Issues' have not been addressed yet, such as kidnapping of women and being forced into prostitution, so called ‘Arab Sheiks’ marrying girls from poor families and turning then into prostitutes, etc. We live in a world were children as young as 8-10 yrs are subject to sadistic pleasures of mentally twisted men, leading to their deaths and eventually their bodies are burnt so that it leaves no trail.. Guys… don’t think I stole this out of a Steven Spielberg movie.. It is happening as we speak..
Let me say something about ‘Choice’… (Let me make myself clear at this point.. I am NOT taking about the call girls who sell their bodies to earn extra pocket money so that they can afford expensive cosmetics. I am only talking about women who have to sell their souls for a day’s meal.) I think we all need a serious reality check here.. There is a huge segment of the society that is deprived of the basic right to CHOICE!!!
I was a very small part of this Health Intervention Project for sometime as a counselor. But at the end of it all, I wondered who counseled whom. My heart goes out for them because they are out there in the world living it night after night. Before we talk of moral issues there is an issue that’s far more fundamental – the humanitarian aspect.
Just to enlighten you a little as to what these women have to go through EVERYDAY of their lives, let me share this document with you.