By pjain      Published July 30, 2021, 6:40 p.m. in blog Startups   

Prostitution, Uses, Abuses, Legalization and Issues

  1. Netherlands: Often considered to be one of the most popular sex tourism destinations in the world. Prostitution is legal and regulated while Amsterdam’s, De Wallen, is the largest and most famous red-light district in the city and a famous destination for international sex tourism.

  2. Spain: TOURIST Party destinations in Spain that include Madrid, Ibiza and Barcelona which are known for their riveting club and bar scene have also become popular sex tourism destinations. Street that is known as the red light area.

  3. Germany, Prostitution and even street prostitution is wide spread and organised sector in Germany and it is completely legal. The country has a long history of sexual tourism with organised prostitution in the country dating back to the 1200’s AD. Interestingly, people join the flesh trade in Germany willingly and there are advertisements, and job offers through HR companies. Frauenhäuser ("women's houses") have always been a common part of German history and were looked upon as places which helped curb greater crimes by offering their services. The practice carries on till date.

Developing World Top Tourist spots - Cheaper and Get Japanese,Chinese, Indian Biz

Thailand, While formally illegal reality is it is a MAJOR tourist hotspot for all kinds of kinky sex. However drug trade is strictly controlled and punishments are steep. The industry apparently started in the country during the Vietnam, war and is a legal profession here with over three million sex workers earning a livelihood in the country.

Malaysia: While prostitution is illegal in Malaysia, it is still rampantly practiced and services are widely available. The demand is particularly high in places like Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh. Most of the sex workers are trafficked from neighbouring countries like China.

Philippines: The country has a huge industry domestically with an estimated 800,000 men, women and children working in the trade. It is believed that the country’s international image as a sex destination was formed due to the ‘girlie’ bars that were prevalent during World War II.

Brazil: Another place where prostitution is legal, Brazil however says it is illegal to operate a brothel or to employ sex workers in any other way. Still, dozens of brothels fill the cities, where prostitutes engage in sexual activities.

Colombia: Colombian women are often considered to be one of the most beautiful women in the world, and perhaps this is one factor that has led to sex tourism flourishing in the country. While sex trade is completely legal here, the government is taking efforts to curb areas that re illegal, like child prostitution.

Developing World Top Tourist spots - Cheapest

Dominican Republic: Travellers to the Dominican Republic will see legal brothels, marriage parlours and prostitutes openly roaming around in many of the downtown areas of Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata. The Dominican Republic ranks fourth highest in the world among countries exporting large numbers of sex workers.

Kenya: While it is one of the countries in Africa which is relatively easier to visit, it also has one of the largest sex tourism industries on the continent. The country does not discourage the practice despite the high level of STDs and HIV prevalent. Interestingly, Kenya is a popular destination among older white women who want to 'buy' some time with a man. Children are lured into prostitution by tourists willing to pay handsomely for sex in secret locations.

Prostitution By Countries

EU enlightened, Tourist E.European Developing and the famous Netherlands

Country Prostitution Status/Notes
Czech Rep Legal
Greece Legal - tourism
Italy Legal - tourism - odd for a Catholic bastion
Netherlands Legal - tourism
Poland Legal
Hungary Legal
Austria Legal
Denmark Legal
Israel Legal
Switzerland Legal
Bulgaria Legal
Country Prostitution Status/Notes
India Legal
Indonesia Legal
Brazil Legal
Bangladesh Legal
Mexico Legal
  • Spain, Portugal it is a tourism aspect and more liberal than rest of EU
  • Chile, Argentina
Country Prostitution Status/Notes
USA Limited by States eg NV
Canada Limited by Province
Japan Limited
Country Prostitution Status/Notes
UK Limited
France Limited

China Illegal

Eastern Europe, ex-Communist Countries - Some Illegal esp. Past Soviets

Country Prostitution Status/Notes
Romania Illegal

Southeast Asia, East Asian - Illegal mostly but Wink Wink!

Country Prostitution Status/Notes
Philippines Illegal
Malaysia Limited Legal
Thailand Illegal - but MAJOR tourist hotspot for all kinds of kinky sex

Thailand, While formally illegal reality is it is a MAJOR tourist hotspot for all kinds of kinky sex. However drug trade is strictly controlled and punishments are steep.

Malaysia: While prostitution is illegal in Malaysia, it is still rampantly practiced and services are widely available. The demand is particularly high in places like Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh. Most of the sex workers are trafficked from neighbouring countries like China.

Philippines: The country has a huge industry domestically with an estimated 800,000 men, women and children working in the trade. It is believed that the country’s international image as a sex destination was formed due to the ‘girlie’ bars that were prevalent during World War II.

Most African ex-Colonies of UK, France it is Illegal

S. Africa

Nearly all Islamic countries are Illegal

  • Ethiopia is an exception where it is legal


=== India Prostitution Realities at

1. Service Orientation at the High End for Elite

Foreign prostitutes - Goris in demand

Girls from Europe, Central Asia, Africa, and Asia, including Rohingya and other minority populations from Burma, are subjected to sex trafficking in India for their fair skin.

They are also commonly seen as "item girls" in Indian cinema as low paid again Goris.

Women and girls from China, Arab countries, Japan, the former Soviet Republics, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and from other origins have been noted as working as prostitutes in India.

In 2013 there were reports of Afghan women being trafficked as prostitutes to India.

In 2015 ten Thai women were arrested in India on prostitution charges for allegedly running two brothels masquerading as massage parlours.

Uzbek women go to India to work as prostitutes

Pricing and Competition for High End

SUITABLE Police Protection for High End

Untouchable Elites and MLAs

High Price Call Girls in Three to Five Star Hotels

Bar girls, Disco Girls, Mall Girls

Rapid engagement in Malls of India for the Young Professionals

2. How A Demand Driven Business Works at Mid End of Business

Prevalence of Prostitution 3-5m, 1+ m children

There were an estimated two million female sex workers in the country in 1997.

In 2007, the Ministry of Women and Child Development reported the presence of over 3 million female sex workers in India, with 35.47 percent of them entering the trade before the age of 18 years. The number of prostitutes rose by 50% between 1997 and 2004.

Pricing and Competition for Middle End

SUITABLE Police Protection for Bribes at Low to Mid End

Reasons for entry - Supply Side

Most of the research done by the development organisation Sanlaap indicates that the majority of sex workers in India work as prostitutes due to lacking resources to support themselves or their children. Most do not choose this profession but out of necessity, often after the breakup of a marriage or after being disowned and thrown out of their homes by their families. The children of sex workers are much more likely to get involved in this kind of work as well.

A survey completed in 1988 by the All Bengal Women's Union interviewed a random sample of 160 sex workers in Calcutta: Of those, 23 claimed that they had come of their own accord, whereas the remaining 137 women claimed to have been introduced into the sex trade by agents. The breakdown was as follows:

Neighbour in connivance with parents: 7
Neighbours as pimps (guardians not knowing): 19
Aged sex workers from same village or locality: 31
Unknown person/accidental meeting with pimp: 32
Mother/sister/near relative in the profession: 18
Lover giving false hope of marriage or job and selling to brothel: 14
Close acquaintance giving false hope of marriage or job: 11
"Husband" (not legally married): 3
Husband (legally married): 1
Young college student selling to brothel and visiting free of cost: 1

The breakdown of the agents by sex were as follows: 76% of the agents were female and 24% were males. Over 80% of the agents bring young women into the profession were known people and not traffickers: neighbours, relatives, etc.

Bonded Labor System

Also prevalent in parts of Bengal is the Chukri System, whereby a female is coerced into prostitution to pay off debts, as a form of bonded labour. In this system, the prostitute generally works without pay for one year or longer to repay a supposed debt to the brothel owner for food, clothes, make-up and living expenses.

In India, the Government's "central sponsored scheme" provides financial or in-kind grants to released bonded laborers and their family members, the report noted, adding over 2,850,000 people have benefited to date. Almost 5,000 prosecutions have been recorded so far under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act of 1976.

Ancestral Prostitution

Some women and girls are by tradition born into prostitution to support the family. The Bachara Tribe, for example, follow this tradition with eldest daughters often expected to be prostitutes.

Nepali, Bangladesh and Afghani Goris as Victims

Over 40% of 484 prostituted girls rescued during major raids of brothels in Mumbai in 1996 were from Nepal. In India one estimate calculated that as many as 200,000 Nepalese girls, many under the age of 14, were sold into sexual slavery during the 1990s.

Nepali women and girls are increasingly subjected to sex trafficking in Assam, and other cities such as Nagpur and Pune.

Many women and girls, predominately from Nepal and Bangladesh are used for internal trafficking.

Some Nepali, Bangladeshi, and Afghan women and girls are subjected to both labor and sex trafficking in major Indian cities. Following the 2015 Nepal earthquakes, Nepali women who transit through India are increasingly subjected to trafficking in the Middle East and Africa.

Recruiting for Local Markets

India is a source, destination, and transit country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking. Most of India's trafficking problem is internal.

Those from the most disadvantaged social strata—economically weaker sections, lowest caste Dalits, members of tribal communities—are most vulnerable. Thousands of unregulated work placement agencies reportedly lure adults and children under false promises of employment into sex trafficking.

Experts estimate millions of women and children are victims of sex trafficking in India.

Sham Marriages and Online Recruiting

Traffickers use false promises of employment or arrange sham marriages within India or Gulf states and subject women and girls to sex trafficking. In addition to traditional red light districts, women and children increasingly endure sex trafficking in small hotels, vehicles, huts, and private residences.

Traffickers increasingly use websites, mobile applications, and online money transfers to facilitate commercial sex. Children continue to be subjected to sex trafficking in religious pilgrimage centers and by foreign travelers in tourist destinations.

Dumping to Red Light Madams

Prime destinations for both Indian and foreign female trafficking victims include Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat, Hyderabad, and along the India-Nepal border;

Onboarding and Training

HR Management - Compliance and Performance Reviews

Office Complexes - Red Light Districts - Wink Nod!

Brothels are illegal de jure but in practice are restricted to certain areas of any given town. Though the profession does not have official sanction, little effort is made to eradicate or impede it.

Earlier, there were centres such as Naqqasa Bazaar in Saharanpur, Chaturbhuj Sthan in Muzaffarpur, Lalpur, Maruadih in Varanasi, Meerganj in Allahabad, Kalinganj in Azamgarh and Kabadi bazar of Meerut.

Today, India's largest and best-known red-light districts are Sonagachi in Kolkata, Reshampura in Gwalior, Kamathipura, Sonapur in Mumbai and G. B. Road in New Delhi, that host thousands of sex workers.


3 CRIMINAL and Extreme abuse - Drug Connections and Child Trafficking

Child Trafficking and Underage prostitution

Surveys show there are an estimated 1.2 million children involved in prostitution.

The United States Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons ranks India as a 'Tier 2' country.

Corrupt beyond the Pale

Some corrupt law enforcement officers protect suspected traffickers and brothel owners from law enforcement efforts, take bribes from sex trafficking establishments and sexual services from victims, and tip off sex traffickers to impede rescue efforts.

Drug Traffic, Smuggling and Mideast Sex Trafficking

Modern Indian Practice, Health, Wellness RealPolitik

Finance, Banking and Insurance for Sex Workers

A positive development in the improvement of the lives of female sex workers in Calcutta, a state-owned insurance company has provided life insurance to 250 individuals.

Health Care and STDs for Sex Workers

Mumbai and Kolkata (Calcutta) have the country's largest brothel based sex industry, with over 100,000 sex workers in Mumbai. It is estimated that HIV among prostitutes have largely fallen, in last decade.

A positive outcome of a prevention programme among prostitutes can be found in Sonagachi, a red-light district in Kolkata. The education programme targeted about 5,000 female prostitutes. A team of two peer workers carried out outreach activities including education, condom promotion and follow-up of STI cases. When the project was launched in 1992, 27% of sex workers reported condom use. By 1995 this had risen to 82%, and in 2001 it was 86%.

Reaching women who are working in brothels has proven to be quite difficult due to the sheltered and secluded nature of the work, where pimps, Mashis, and brothel-keepers often control access to the women and prevent their access to education, resulting in a low to modest literacy rate for many sex workers.

Not only HIV, but other infection diseases have been decreased, examined data from 868 prevention projects—serving about 500,000 female sex workers—implemented between 1995 and 2008. Research found that reaching sex workers through prevention programs decreased HIV and syphilis infection rates among young pregnant women tested routinely at government' prenatal health clinics.

HIV/AIDs spread rapidly amongst Punjabi Truck Drivers all over South Asia

Enshrined in Early Indian Cinema

Initially, like in popular acting (Ramayana), there were few women who would perform in theatres or

The tradition of Tawaifs and Nautch contributed significantly to the continuation of traditional dance and music forms and then emergence of modern Indian cinema.

Modern India laws, Politics and Lobbying

The law is vague on prostitution itself.

1956 SITA The Immoral Traffic Suppression Act - not commonly used

The primary law dealing with the status of sex workers is the 1956 law referred to as The Immoral Traffic (Suppression) Act (SITA). This legislation passed in 1956 as a result of the signing by India of the United Nations' declaration in 1950 in New York on the suppression of trafficking.

According to this law, prostitutes can practice their trade privately but cannot legally solicit customers in public.

A BBC article, however, mentions that prostitution is illegal in India; the Indian law does not refer to the practice of selling one's own sexual service as "prostitution". Clients can be punished for sexual activity in proximity to a public place.

Organized prostitution (brothels, prostitution rings, pimping, etc.) is illegal. Of course all existing red light districts are obviously prevalent and clearly illegal but commonly protected by police for bribes.

As long as it is done individually and voluntarily, a woman (male prostitution is not recognized in any law in India) can use her body in exchange for material benefit. In particular, the law forbids a sex worker to carry on her profession within 200 yards of a public place.

Unlike as is the case with other professions, sex workers are not protected under normal labour laws, but they possess the right to rescue and rehabilitation if they desire, and they possess all the rights of other citizens.

In practice SITA is not commonly used. The Indian Penal Code (IPC) which predates the SITA is often used to charge sex workers with vague crimes such as "public indecency" or being a "public nuisance" without explicitly defining what these consist of.

1986 ITPA Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act

In 1986 the old law was amended as the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act or ITPA also called the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act (PITA) is a 1986 amendment to SITA and intended as a means of limiting and eventually abolishing prostitution in India by gradually criminalising various aspects of sex work.

A weird myth perpetuated is that while individual prostitution itself is not an offence under this law, but soliciting, brothels, madams and pimps are illegal.

The main points of the PITA are as follows:

  1. Sex Workers: A prostitute who seduces or solicits shall be prosecuted. Similarly, call girls can not publish phone numbers to the public. (imprisonment up to 6 months with fine)

  2. Sex workers are also punished for prostitution near any public place or notified area. (Imprisonment of up to 3 months with fine, point 7) Clients: A client is guilty of consorting with prostitutes and can be charged if he engages in sex acts with a sex worker within 200 yards of a public place or "notified area". (Imprisonment of up to 3 months, point 7) The client may also be punished if the sex worker is below 18 years of age. (From 7 to 10 years of imprisonment, whether with a child or a minor)

  3. Pimps and babus: Babus or pimps or live-in lovers who live off a prostitute's earnings are guilty of a crime. Any adult male living with a prostitute is assumed to be guilty unless he can prove otherwise. (Imprisonment of up to 2 years with fine)

  4. Brothel: Landlords and brothel-keepers can be prosecuted, maintaining a brothel is illegal. (From 1 to 3 years' imprisonment with fine for first offense) Detaining someone at a brothel for the purpose of sexual exploitation can lead to prosecution. (Imprisonment of more than 7 years) Prostitution in a hotel is also a criminal offense.

  5. Procuring and trafficking: A person procures or attempts to procure anybody is liable to be punished. Also a person who moves a person from one place to another, (human trafficking), can be prosecuted similarly. (7 years' imprisonment with fine for first conviction, and up to life imprisonment thereafter;)

  6. Rescued Women: The government is legally obligated to provide rescue and rehabilitation in a "protective home" for any sex worker requesting assistance.

  7. Public place in context of this law includes places of public religious worship, educational institutions, hostels, hospitals etc. A "notified area" is a place which is declared to be "prostitution-free" by the state government under the PITA. Brothel in context of this law, is a place which has two or more sex workers

2006 Stalled Bill to criminalize Johns or clients of trafficked prostitute

In 2006 the Ministry of Women and Child Development put forward a bill aimed at reducing human trafficking. The bill proposed criminalizing the clients of trafficked prostitutes. However, it stalled during the legislative process, and legislation against human trafficking was subsequently effected by amendments to the Indian Penal Code.

Clauses in the ITPA relating to living off the earnings of a sex-worker are being challenged in court, together with criminalization of brothels, prostitution around a notified public place, soliciting and the power given to a magistrate to evict sex-workers from their home and forbidding their re-entry.

Other groups are lobbying parliament for amendments to the law.

2009-2011 Supreme Court attempts to legalize - 2012 Central Govt opposed

In 2009 the Supreme Court ruled that prostitution should be legalised and convened a panel to consider amending the law. In 2011 the Supreme Court held that "right to live with dignity" is a Constitutional right and issued an order relating to "creating conditions conducive for sex workers to work with dignity". The court directed the Central Government, States and Union Territories to carry out a survey to determine the number of sex workers in the country willing to be rehabilitated.

However, in 2012 the Central Government made a plea to the Supreme Court arguing that sex workers should not be allowed to pursue their trade under the constitutional "right to live with dignity". Government counsel contended that any such endorsement by the court would be ultra vires of ITPA which totally bans prostitution. Opposing counsel submitted that the Act only prohibited brothel activities and punitive action against pimps. The Supreme Court agreed to examine the plea and it remains in LIMBO!

Opposition to FULLY criminalize

Attempts to amend PITA to FULLY criminalize clients have been opposed by the Health Ministry, has encountered considerable opposition.

Efforts to legalize prostitution and its opposition

Over the years, India has seen a growing mandate to legalize prostitution, to avoid exploitation of sex workers and their children by middlemen and in the wake of a growing HIV/AIDS menace.

Historical Timeline of the Oldest Professions

Ancient India - Temple Priests and Courtesans

Kamasutra and Respected courtesans of the Hindu Era 300 BC to 1200 AD

Temple prostitutes were a service, often misunderstood but traditionally/originally non-prostitution professions

Devdasi, temple dancer devoted to the practice of spiritual dancing

Domni, a hereditary female singer

Mughal India Tawaifs

A tawaif was a courtesan who catered to the nobility of India, particularly during the Mughal era. The tawaifs excelled in and contributed to music, dance (mujra), theatre, and the Urdu literary tradition, and were considered an authority on etiquette. Tawaifs were largely a North Indian institution central to Mughal court culture from the 16th century onwards and became even more prominent with the weakening of Mughal rule in the mid-18th century.

Professions sometimes related to prostitution

  • Nochi, young female trainee under a Tawaif
  • Kanjari, low-class uncultured Tawaif
  • Kasbi, a female belonging to family which practices hereditary sex trade over several generations
  • Nautch girl, assorted dance performer during colonial India for all classes of people
  • Full Tawaif, an elegant and cultured courtesan who is master of arts, including singing and dancing

Princely States and Nautch

The governments of many Indian princely states had regulated prostitution in India prior to the 1860s.

Also in UP, etc. local nobles "sponsored" nautch houses. This led to the more refined but lower nobles court culture of the performing art of nautch, an alluring style of popular dance, rose to prominence during the later period of Mughal Empire and the rule of the British East India Company.

Trafficking of Japanese, White women from Europe

Goa was a colony in Portuguese India set up in the early 16th century, and this Portuguese stronghold contained a community of Portuguese slaves. During the late 16th and 17th centuries the Portuguese trade in Japanese slaves resulted in traders from the Portuguese Empire and their captive lascar crew members from South Asia bringing Japanese slaves to Goa. These were usually young Japanese women and girls brought or captured from Japan as sexual slaves.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, thousands of women and girls from continental Europe and Japan were trafficked into British India, where they worked as prostitutes servicing British soldiers and local Indian men.

British Colonial Era - Red Light Districts and Brothels Regulated for Profit under British East India

During the period of Company rule British military camps established and maintained brothels across the Indian subcontinent. The prostitutes who worked in such brothels were recruited from rural Indian families and paid directly by the British authorities.

The red-light districts of cities such as Mumbai developed at this time.

Prostitution was only formalized and continued after the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the direct administration of the British Crown.

1864 The British Raj enacted the Cantonment Act to regulate prostitution in colonial India as a matter of accepting a necessary evil. The Cantonment Acts regulated and structured prostitution in the British military bases which provided for about twelve to fifteen Indian women kept in brothels called chaklas for each regiment of thousand British soldiers. They were licensed by military officials and were allowed to consort with soldiers only.


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