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Priya Motiani

JWB Blogger

Should Prostitution Be Legalized? Read About These Students’ Work Before Answering

  • JWB Post
  •  July 21, 2016


In a country where prostitution is a hushed and taboo-ed affair, taking it up as a project and going so far as striving to legalize it certainly seems like a berserk thing to do.

But, Amit Chauhan, an NIFT student, is nevertheless doing it.

“The objective in my mind is to fight for legalising prostitution in India. I feel that by doing this, we can help bring down crimes against women in the country. If men have a legal space to satisfy their sexual needs, women of the country will be at a lesser risk.”

What started as a trip to the Khakranagla village of Rajasthan to use prostitutes as models for his project, turned into dedicated a team effort and resolution of 6 people for empowering prostitutes across India.

Hear the rest of the story in Amit’s own words from his interview with Indiatimes.

“We chose three case studies from Delhi and Rajasthan respectively. Although we went armed with questions on their choice of profession and what they would do if they could escape, we were shocked to find that most women in the profession do not want to leave the job. These prostitutes are the bread winners for their entire family.

Six months ago, we went to GB Road in Delhi which is a well-known red light district in the Capital. We were led to the police station by a tout where we were instructed not to take any photographs or video footage. We spoke to a lot of the women there. They were clear that they did not want this life for any of their children but for most, there were no alternate job options.

These women get 100-200 rupees per customer and have to split the profits with middlemen. If prostitution was legalized in India then they would not be exploited,” Amit said.

All of this led to the creation of the page –  – which happens to be the research base of an upcoming book.

“The page is named after the girl’s puberty festival in Khakranagla of Rajasthan. The project was inspired by the cultural reference to prostitution in the village which is one-of-a-kind in India,” shares Chauhan. “Many parts of India celebrate a girl’s attaining puberty but it is largely a celebration at home or with near and dear friends. In Khakranagla, after a girl has her first period, she has a ceremonial bath and then married. The first night is celebrated as the ‘nath utrai’ or losing of virginity.

My family knew about the project I have been working on and they had valid concerns as the crime rate around these places is quite high. They are still nervous when I am on the field but they support me,” Amit added.

Our good friend Google tells us that in India, prostitution is legal but the definition is limited to the exchange of money for sex and does not include pimping, brothel-keeping, and soliciting sex in any other way. Clearly, this implies that there aren’t any laws to safeguard the interests of the women involved these prostitutes resulting in them being exploited; which is why the Nath Utrai fellas, now backed by a Scottish activist – Mekhala Dave, are trying to spread awareness.

“Right now, we are doing a lot of shoots with models and college students on the basis of the research that we have. We are trying to create more awareness on the issue on a national level. I understand that people want to know about it but do not wish to be seen publicly talking or participating in such an event. This needs to change. Every person has human rights and these women have been deprived of dignity and have ended up as victims of a failed society.” 

Want to extend support? Here’s how you can get in touch with Amit Chauhan.


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