Supreme Court has said that while raiding a brothel, the sex workers should not be arrested or penalized in any form, verbal or physical, since voluntary sex work is not illegal, and only running a brothel is against the law. These guidelines were offered while dealing with certain reservations that the Centre had raised in regards to the SC-appointed panel’s recommendations.
The apex court insisted that while it was illegal to run a brothel, the sex workers should be treated with decency and must not be assaulted or abused or penalized in any way. “Needless to say, this basic protection of human decency and dignity extends to sex workers and their children, who, bearing the brunt of social stigma attached to their work, are removed to the fringes of the society, deprived of their right to live with dignity and opportunities to provide the same to their children, ” the court’s panel said.
Explaining how under the law, every human is equal , no matter their profession, the court added, “It is needless to say that every individual in this the country has a right to a dignified life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”
Furthermore, the panel has also released a set of guidelines regarding the rights of the sex workers.
It has said that the state and central governments should include representation from sex workers in all their decision-making processes. According to the panel, sex workers must have a say in planning and implementation of any policy and reforms that concern them or their community.
In case a sex worker has suffered abuse or harassment, the authorities must deal with the case with dignity and conduct investigation systematically, like in any other cases.
Meanwhile, the top court has also ordered the Centre to ensure issuance of Aadhar Cards to every sex worker on the basis of a proforma certificate. It has also asserted the absolute need to maintain confidentiality through this process.