Q. Consider the following statements:
1. The expression ‘sex worker’ has been defined in Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956.
2. Supreme Court has recognized sex work as a profession.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

[A] 1 only

[B] 2 only

[C] Both 1 and 2

[D] Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: B


The Supreme Court has recognized sex work as a profession. The SC held that the practitioners of sex work are entitled to dignity and equal protection under the law.

What is the background to the SC Directions?

  • In 2011, the SC had rejected the appeal of the convict in Budhadev Karmaskar vs State Of West Bengal case. The accused had murdered a sex worker for refusing to have sexual intercourse with him;
  • The SC appointed a panel asking it to study and make suitable suggestions on ‘prevention of trafficking, rehabilitation of sex workers who wish to leave sex work’.

What were the findings of the Panel?

In its final report submitted on September 14, 2016, the panel noted that:

  • Sex workers found it difficult to acquire proofs of identity such as ration cards or voter cards because they lacked a proof of residence;
  • District authorities did not recognise the identities of sex workers and their children, and sex workers did not have access to schemes meant for their rehabilitation;
  • They also had no access to credit offered by States, because the lack of documents prevented them from opening bank accounts. The Committee recommended that amendments should be made to The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956.

Source: EPIC June 2022