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The Supreme Court Recognizes S*x Work As A Profession And Directs All Police Forces To “Treat S*x Workers With Dignity” (Details below)

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The Supreme Court of India recognizes sex work as a ” profession” and in the significant ruling it has instructed all police forces not to interfere or take action against any adult and consulting sex workers. Further, it has directed the police to treat the sex workers with dignity and should not abuse or harass them.

The court has directed the media to be cautious while reporting a rescue operations as it must not reveal their identity or publish pictures in the name of covering news.

In the absence of a law on sex workers, invoking the powers under Article 142 of the Constitution of India, the apex court has issued a series of directions on their “rehabilitation.”

Justices L Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai, and AS Bopanna presided over the bench, which directed the states and union territories to comply with some of these “recommendations” relating to “rehabilitation measures for sew workers and other related issues.”

The court further observed, “it need not be gainsaid that notwithstanding the profession, every individual in this country has a right to a dignified life under Article 21 of the Constitution. Constitution protection that is given to all the individuals in this country shall be kept in mind by the authorities who have a duty under Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act,1956.”

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Furthermore, the bench has directed the center to file its response on the recommendation made by panel within a timeframe of six weeks. However, the Additional Solicitor General Jayant Sud had already informed the bench that the center had “certain reservations” on few recommendations made by the panel.

Previously in 2011, the supreme court ordered to set up a panel, headed by the senior advocate Pradip Ghosh, to enlist suggestions to prevent human trafficking, rehabilitation of sex workers (those who wish to leave), etc., this panel has submitted a series of recommendations, however the center is yet to make a law on sex workers.

Therefore, the court said, “as the legislation has not been made till date, even though the recommendations were made by the panel in 2016 and said the recommendations have to be implemented, we are exercising our powers conferred under Article 142 of the Constitution, to issue the following directions which will hold the field till a legislation is made by the Union of India.”

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