SC sets up panel for sex workers' rehabilitation

SC sets up panel for sex workers' rehabilitation

SC sets up panel for sex workers' rehabilitation

The Supreme Court on Tuesday constituted a committee to monitor the rehabilitation of sex workers and directed all states and Union Territories to determine those who are willing to join the mainstream and provide them help to lead normal life.

Maintaining that a sex worker can live with dignity only if she earns a livelihood through  technical skills rather than by selling her body, a bench of justices Markandeya Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra also asked the Centre and states to come out with suggestions and recommendations for improving the condition of sex workers within two weeks.

“We may reiterate that this exercise has been done because the word ‘life’ in Article 21 of the Constitution of India has been interpreted in several decisions of this court to mean a right to ‘life with dignity’.

“It is only if a sex worker is able to earn a livelihood through technical skills rather than by selling her body that she can live with dignity, and that is why we have requested all the states and the Centre to submit schemes for giving technical training to them,” the court said.

The panel set up by the government would comprise senior advocates Pradeep Ghosh and Jayant Bhushan and representatives of three NGOs. The court passed the direction while dealing with a petition relating to improving the condition of sex workers.

The panel will suggest ways and measures to prevent human trafficking, rehabilitation of those willing to leave what is considered one of the oldest professions and provide better amenities to those willing to continue with their status.

The court also directed that representatives of the Centre and all state governments should attend meetings to be fixed by the panel’s chairman from time to time.

“Since this is a continuing mandamus, we will focus on Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai as this problem of sex workers is more acute and on a much larger scale in these metropolitan cities. However, this does not mean that we will not take up other cities into consideration,” the court said.