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"This is a case of brutal murder of a sex
worker. Sex workers are also human beings and no
one has a right to assault or murder them. A
person becomes a prostitute not because she
enjoys it but because of poverty. Society must
have sympathy towards the sex workers and must
not look down upon them. They are also entitled
to a life of dignity in view of Article 21 of the
In the novels and stories of the great
Bengali writer Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyaya,
many prostitutes have been shown to be women of
very high character, e.g., Rajyalakshmi in
'Shrikant', Chandramukhi in 'Devdas', etc.
The plight of prostitutes has been depicted
by the great Urdu poet Sahil Ludhianvi in his
poem 'Chakle' which has been sung in the Hindi
film Pyasa "Jineh Naaz Hai Hind Par wo kahan
hain" (simplified version of the verse 'Sana
Khwan-e-taqdees-e-Mashrik Kahan Hain').
We may also refer to the character Sonya
Marmelodova in Dostoyevsky's famous novel 'Crime
and Punishment'. Sonya is depicted as a girl who
sacrifices her body to earn some bread for her
"Although we have dismissed this Appeal, we
strongly feel that the Central and the State
Governments through Social Welfare Boards should
prepare schemes for rehabilitation all over the
country for physically and sexually abused women
commonly known as prostitutes as we are of the
view that the prostitutes also have a right to
live with dignity under Article 21 of the
Constitution of India since they are also human
beings and their problems also need to be
As already observed by us, a woman is
compelled to indulge in prostitution not for
pleasure but because of abject poverty. If such a
woman is granted opportunity to avail some
technical or vocational training, she would be
able to earn her livelihood by such vocational
training and skill instead of by selling her
Hence, we direct the Central and the
State Governments to prepare schemes for giving
technical/vocational training to sex workers and
sexually abused women in all cities in India.
The schemes should mention in detail who will
give the technical/vocational training and in
what manner they can be rehabilitated and settled
by offering them employment. For instance, if a
technical training is for some craft like sewing
garments, etc. then some arrangements should also
be made for providing a market for such garments,
otherwise they will remain unsold and unused, and
consequently the woman will not be able to feed
We again reiterate that this exercise is because we
are of the opinion that sex workers are also human beings
and hence they are entitled to a life of dignity. It has
been well-settled by a series of decisions of this Court
that the word `life' in Article 21 of the Constitution
means a life of dignity and not just an animal life. We
are of the opinion that sex workers obviously cannot lead
a life of dignity as long as they remain sex workers.
12. Sex among human beings is different from sex among
animals. Sex in humans has a cultural aspect to it also,
and is not just a physical act. A sex worker who has to
surrender her body to a man for money obviously is not
leading a life of dignity. Ordinarily, no woman will
willingly surrender her body to a man unless she loves and
respects him. A sex worker is obviously not surrendering
her body to a man because she loves and respect him, but
just for sheer survival. As Nancy says in Charles Dicken's
novel `Oliver Twist', "you adapt or you die".
13. Apart from that, sex workers are always in danger of
getting sexually transmitted diseases (STD), and they are
often abused and beaten by the proprietors of the brothel
and others who give them a pittance out of her earnings.
A woman becomes a sex worker not because she enjoys it but
due to abject poverty. One estimate suggests that there
are 3 million sex workers in India, many even from Nepal,
Bangaldesh, and even the former Soviet Union. This is due
to massive poverty in the country, and abroad.
14. Our effort in this exercise is to educate the public
and inform them that sex workers are not bad persons, but
they are unfortunate girls who have been forced to go into
this flesh trade due to terrible poverty. Hence society
should not look down upon the sex workers but should have
sympathy with them. In fact, in the novels of the great
Bengali writer Sharat Chandra Chattopadhayay it has been
shown that many of the sex workers were women of very high
character, e.g. Rajyalakshmi, Chandramukhi, etc. and the
same has been shown in the novels of many European writers.
The Russian writer Dostoyevsky's novel `Crime & Punishment'
has shown Sonia Marmeladova as a woman of high character
who became a sex worker to feed her starving family.
Similarly, in Charles Dicken's novel `Oliver Twist', the
sex worker Nancy is shown to be a girl of high character
who sacrifices her life to save Oliver. In Victor Hugo's
famous novel `Les Miserables', Fantine sacrifices her hair
and teeth to provide for her daughter Cosette. Martha in
`David Copperfield' is also depicted as a woman of noble
We are of the opinion that if sex workers are given
proper technical training they will be able to come out of
sex work and instead earn their livelihood through their
technical skills instead of by selling their bodies. That
will enable them to live a life of dignity.
We are fully conscious of the fact that simply by our
orders the sex workers in our country will not be
rehabilitated immediately. It will take a long time, but
we have to work patiently in this direction. What we have
done in this case is to present the situation of sex
workers in the country in the correct light, so as to
educate the public. It is ultimately the people of the
country, particularly the young people, who by their
idealism and patriotism can solve the massive problems of
sex workers. We, therefore, particularly appeal to the
youth of the country to contact the members of the panel
and to offer their services in a manner which the panel may
require so that the sex workers can be uplifted from their
present degraded condition. They may contact the panel at
the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
THIS IS A SOCIAL BURNING PROBLEM COMING FORM AGES. SO MANY VOLUNTARY ORGANISATION ARE ALREADY WORKING
STILL, THIS IS NOT ROOTED OUT FROM OUR SOCIETY.
THE STEP TAKEN BY THE APEX COURT AS OUR CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY
AND DRIVING THE GOVERNMENT BODIES TOWARDS PROSPECTS OF THE WELFARE OF
THE SEX WORKERS IS A WONDERFUL AND IDEAL ONE.
FOR THE FIRST TIME, THE APEX COURT CALL FOR THE YOUTH OF OUR COUNTRY.
CERTAINLY THIS CANCER ON THE BACK OF OUR SOCIETY WILL BE SUCCESSFULLY
REMOVED. HOPE SUSTAINS THE FUTURE.