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Forced prostitution which is also known as involuntary prostitution or enforced prostitution is a kind of sexual slavery. It indicates a condition of control over a person who is forced by some other person to engage in sexual activity. Human trafficking, especially of young girls and women, usually leads to forced prostitution. Several factors such as economic necessities, unemployment and drug addiction may be responsible to force a woman into this hell of sexual slavery. People in countries like India, Pakistan and Iran have conservative views regarding sex and the culture of these countries do not accept to have sexual relations before marriage; hence the prostitution becomes an acceptable solution.
It is estimated that there are two to three millions of Prostitutes in India alone. In 2007, a study conducted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development indicates that there exist more than 3 million female sex workers in India. Nearly 35.47 per cent of them enter the profession before the age of 18 years. Most of these prostitutes have to enter the sex industry unwillingly. According to a study, several women enter this hell of sexual slavery in their teenage so that they may provide food to their children. In fact, India and Nepal are the countries where the caste system is so strong that the women and young girls from the lower sections of the society are forced into this heinous practice of sexual slavery at an early age. These teenagers are mainly forced into this practice by the parents themselves. According to the reports, nearly 90 per cent daughters of the sex workers have to join the profession of prostitution in India.
A study that is conducted in nine countries indicates that 89 per cent of women want to leave this hell, but once a women or a girl enters this whirlpool of sexual slavery, it becomes impossible for them to get out of it. The pimps or traffickers use various types of methods to force these girls and women to lead a life of prostitute. Usually, these pimps make use of various types of drugs and alcohols to lure these girls and women for building up their dependency. They applied this addiction as a tool to have a control over these girls and women. They even threaten these girls and women that if they leave the prostitution, they will bring a shame to their families. These traffickers beat them rigorously if they go to file a report against these culprits. Consequently, these girls and women have to accept to remain in this hell as their destiny.
The study of the nine countries regarding the prostitution asserts that 70 to 95 per cent of women are physically as well as mentally tortured. Most of them are school girls who are beaten, locked up in small cabins. Some of them are forced to have sex with more than twenty men a day. They are not provided with enough food to eat. They have to sleep on the floor for they are not given beds. Suicidal rate is very high among these girls and women. If they make any effort to escape, they are beaten very mercilessly. They have to remain constantly under the watchful eyes of these pimps. It’s a matter of great shame that the parents themselves handover these teenagers to these agents unknowingly. They think that these agents will help their daughters in getting respectable jobs, but these agents forced these innocent teenagers into the profession of prostitution. It will be proper to make it clear that 76 per cent of the agents are female and 24 per cent are males. Over 80 per cent of these agents bring the young girls into this mean profession. These agents are the well known persons of the society so it becomes very easy for them to lure the parents of these girls.
Forced prostitution exists throughout the world. European countries like Albania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine are identified as the major source countries for trafficking of women and children. Young girls and women are usually lured to these rich countries by the promise of money and good job and once they are ensnared, they are forced into this sexual industry. The major destinations of human trafficking are Western Europe, Turkey, the Middle East Asia, Russia and the United States. In 2002, it is estimated that every year, nearly 50,000 women and children are brought to U.S.A. against their will for sexual exploitation. Eastern European women are trafficked to several Middle Eastern countries including Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. A number of Iraqi women are being forced into the occupation of prostitution. In Syria alone nearly 50,000 Iraqi refugee girls and women are forced into prostitution. In Asia, Japan is considered a major destination country for trafficked women, especially from Philippines and Thailand. There are more than 60,000 child prostitutes in Philippines. According to estimation, more than 6000 to 7000 women and girls are trafficked every year. In the state of North Korea, girls of 14 years of age are forced into sexual slavery.
In Indian Sub Continent, innumerable girls from lower section of the society are forced into the profession of prostitution every year. In fact, the link between caste system and forced prostitution has become apparent through the Devadasi system which has been prevailing in the country since the time immemorial. Several girls and women in urban brothels of India come from lower castes and minority communities. In 2007, Anti-Slavery International published a study which indicates that 93 per cent of Devadasis are from the scheduled castes and 7 per cent are from the scheduled tribes of India. In Nepal, innumerable women from Badi caste are trafficked to Mumbai and forced into profession of prostitution. The Badi families forced their daughters to work as prostitutes at an early age to increase the income of the household. In Pakistan, Hindu girls, especially from the lower section of the society are lured into conversion to Islam. After exploiting sexually, these girls are abandoned. Afghan women are also trafficked as prostitutes to India to satisfy the needs. Uzbek women, too, go to India come to India to work as prostitutes.
Forced prostitution is illegal by law in all the countries of the world. Despite this fact, in most of the poor countries, child prostitution remains have been a serious problem and several tourists from the western countries travel to these countries to engage themselves in child sex tourism. In India, the primary law dealing with the status of the sex workers is 1956 law which states that prostitutes can practice their trade privately and they will not be able to solicit their customers in public. Thus, the Indian Law does not allow the practice of selling one’s own sexual services as prostitution. Client may be punished for sexual activities at public places. It is also mentioned that organized prostitution is not permitted in India. The law strictly prohibited a sex worker to practice her profession within 200 yards of a public places. As in the case of some other professions, sex workers are not provide any protection under normal labor laws, but the prostitutes possesses all the rights like other citizens of the country. Recently the old law has been amended as the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act.
In this way, forced prostitution is considered the most serious global issue. Now it has become the need of the hour to start a crucial campaign against forced prostitution. The campaign to eradicate forced prostitution needs a global support so that the women can be provided with all the fundamental rights which include education, dignified livelihood and legal empowerment. Education and political empowerment of women and girls may help them to escape and stay out of prostitution. For this, some responsibility must be given to the NGOs for these NGOs will definitely be able to provide shelter, education, health care and legal aid to the girls and women who are forced into prostitution. The people of the entire world should support such NGOs for through these NGOs, we shall be able to eradicate the vicious and complex cycle of forced prostitution.