Red light rendezvous

Posted: August 23, 2010 in Opinions

This will not definitely sound any bizarre. We have had heard of such stories thousand times or more, either through the tragic-romantic portrayals in the media, or from juicy gossip mongers or the unstoppable rumor mills. These are stories of nightingales of the dark, forced by desperate circumstances to live off a profession that many scorn at.

It is a social ill, if we want to see it that way, prejudiced by the prevailing ideas and ideals. Prostitution is never and perhaps will never be recognized as a decent way of livelihood. Because at the core is society’s well structured and often times, rigid bigotry against what they call the debasement of popular values.

Yet, we forget, in blissful ignorance or rather arrogance that they are offsprings of dire strait circumstances. No one is born a sex worker. They are made.

In a close semblance of an organized prostitution in the capital, half a dozen sex workers tiptoe in and around what has come to be known as the Chinese line. Their modus operandi is simple and there’s nothing ill at ease about anything.

The sex workers wait for clients, negotiate a price and leave for love hotels during the day or for joyrides in the night. After the consummation of the sexual act, they return to the restaurant, to wait for another client. Period.

The irony is all this is happening right under the nose of the city police station. If what we have heard is truer than we believe, the police are aware of what is happening there. Yet, what can’t stop confusing us more is why nothing is being done.

We are not saying the sex workers or those seeking favors need to be criminalized, although the law is clear on that. The issue at hand is how to rehabilitate the sex workers back into the mainstream society.  How do we give them a second chance to live a decent life?

May be the idea of legalizing prostitution is a farfetched, not even a sanely possible, attempt. It would be a radical move but it’s worth giving a thought. Why not if legalization of prostitution could work out better deals, where health workers and nongovernment organizations championing women’s cause, can reach out to them in a more effective way? The subtle way in which the underground prostitution operates could do us more harm.

The government has greater political goals to achieve and social problems of this magnitude may seem insignificant. However, at the backdrop of the rising number of HIV cases in the country, this high risk group needs the utmost attention.

Besides everything, it is about providing alternative livelihood opportunities to the sex workers. Sooner the better!


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