NCW's move to legalise prostitution meets more resistance

The move by the National Commission for Women (NCW) to support legalisation of prostitution has not gone down well with women’s rights groups.

The NCW chairperson is supporting the idea and has responded positively towards the Supreme Court panel on the issue.

The commission is an invitee to the meetings of the Supreme Court panel constituted in 2011 on this issue.  The idea has also failed to impress the Women and Child Development Ministry.

Sources said the Women and Child Development Ministry has not taken the proposal very seriously. “It is between the Supreme Court panel and the National Commission for Women. We are in no way involved in it,” said a ministry source.

The ministry is, however, silent over its views on the issue.

Need consultation
Women’s rights groups submitted a memorandum to National Commission for Women Chairperson Lalitha Kumarmangalam on Friday demanding wider consultation on the issue.

“Special steps must be taken to ensure that their (sex workers’) basic human rights are safeguarded and better livelihood options for women are provided as a means of
preventing their entry into prostitution,” said Sudha Sundararaman of the All India Democratic Women's Association.

“However, while your suggestion may stem from legitimate concern over exploitation that women in prostitution are often subjected to, we who have been working amongst them for decades would like to impress upon you that the solution put forth would only add to their woes and lead to their increased exploitation,” said Annie Raja of the National Federation of Indian Women.

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