Close brothels to end prostitution: Panel
A government panel has suggested closure of brothels as one of the steps towards ending prostitution and start rehabilitation of those who are pushed into it.
In an affidavit filed before Supreme Court, the ministry of women and child development said the government would consider the recommendation made by the Central Advisory Committee as closure of brothels would address the issue of trafficking .
According to the ministry trafficking is one of the primary means of entry into prostitution. Even the home ministry is in the process of setting-up anti-human trafficking units at the district level. So far 115 units have been set-up. It said the number of women in prostitution has gone up by 50% during 1997-2002.
The affidavit, filed by the women and child development ministry's under secretary DVK Rao, was filed in response to a direction by a bench headed by Justice Markandeya Katju. The court has directed the Centre and state governments to file affidavits giving details of what steps have been initiated to rehabilitate sex workers and let them live with dignity.
The department, however, expressed apprehension over the acceptance of the recommendation to shut down brothels. "There is a possibility that the recommendation for closure of brothels may meet stiff resistance, especially from those quarters engaged in prevention of HIV/AIDS. However, it is respectfully submitted that this is worth a consideration."
Citing various studies, the ministry said women living in poverty were vulnerable to trafficking. It further submitted that trafficking was driven by both supply and demand.
Though the government has taken several measures to prevent the “supply” through various schemes, the ministry said it was difficult to mange the "demand."