Is prostitution legal in India?

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Yes Prostitution is Legal in India !!
In India, prostitution itself (exchanging sex for money) is not illegal, but the surrounding activities (operating brothels, pimping, soliciting sex etc) are illegal.
The current laws of India allow prostitution to thrive, but attempt to hide it from the public. The primary law dealing with the status of sex workers is the 1956 law referred to as the The Immoral Traffic (Suppression) Act (SITA). According to this law, prostitutes can practice their trade privately but cannot legally solicit customers in public. Organized prostitution (brothels, prostitution rings, pimping etc) is illegal. As long as it is done individually and voluntarily, a woman (male prostitution is not recognized in the Indian constitution) can use her body's attributes in exchange for material benefit. In particular, the law forbids a sex worker to carry on her profession within 200 yards of a public place. Unlike as is the case with other professions, sex workers are not protected under normal labour laws, but they possess the right to rescue and rehabilitation if they desire and possess all the rights of other citizens. In practice SITA is not commonly used. The Indian Penal Code (IPC) which predates the SITA is often used to charge sex workers with vague crimes such as "public indecency" or being a "public nuisance" without explicitly defining what these consist of. Recently the old law has been amended as The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act or PITA. Attempts to amend this to criminalize clients [16] have been opposed by the Health Ministry, [17] and has encountered considerable opposition. [18] In an interesting and positive development in the improvement of the lives of female sex workers in Calcutta, state owned insurance company has provided life insurance to 250 individuals.[19]
Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act:
The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act or PITA is a 1986 amendment of legislation passed in 1956 as a result of the signing by India of the United Nations' declaration in 1950 in New York on the suppression of trafficking.[20] The act was then called the All India Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (SITA), was amended to the current law. The laws were intended as a means of limiting and eventually abolishing prostitution in India by gradually criminalizing various aspects of sex work. The main points of the PITA are as follows: [21]

Sex Workers: A prostitute who seduces or solicits shall be prosecuted. Similarly, [[call girl}call girls]] can not publish phone numbers to the public. (imprisonment up to 6 months with fine, point 8) Sex worker also punished for prostitution near any public place or notified area. (Imprisonment of up to 3 months with fine, point 7)

Clients: A client is guilty of consorting with prostitutes and can be charged if he engages in sex acts with a sex worker within 200 yards of a public place or "notified area". (Imprisonment of up to 3 months, point 7) The client may also be punished if the sex worker is below 18 years of age. (From 7 to 10 years of imprisonment, whether with a child or a minor, point 7)

Pimps and Babus: Babus or pimps or live-in lovers who live off a prostitute's earnings are guilty of a crime. Any adult male living with a prostitute is assumed to be guilty unless he can prove otherwise. (Imprisonment of up to 2 years with fine, point 4)

Brothel: Landlords and brothel-keepers can be prosecuted, maintaining a brothel is illegal. (From 1 to 3 years imprisonment with fine for first offense, point 3) Detaining someone at a brothel for the purpose of sexual exploitation can lead to prosecution. (Imprisonment of more than 7 years, point 6)

Procuring and trafficking: A person procures or attempts to procure anybody is liable to be punished. Also a person who moves a person from one place to another, (human trafficking), can be prosecuted similarly. (From 3 to 7 years imprisonment with fine, point 5)

Rescued Women: The government is legally obligated to provide rescue and rehabilitation in a "protective home" for any sex worker requesting assistance. (Point 21) Public place in context of this law includes places of public religious worship, educational institutions, hostels, hospitals etc. A "notified area" is a place which is declared to be "prostitution-free" by the state government under the PITA. Brothel in context of this law, is a place which has two or more sex workers (2a). Prostitution itself is not an offense under this law, but soliciting, brothels and pimps are illegal.
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