#India- ‘Voluntary sex work is legal’ #womenrights #goodnews


Published: Sunday, Mar 24, 2013, 9:00 IST
By Yogesh Pawar | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Sex workers and women’s rights activists have welcomed the government’s move to differentiate ‘prostitution’ from exploitation in the amended Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code.

By inserting a new definition of exploitation, the Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2013 passed by Lok Sabha clarifies a position that till date conflated consensual adult sex work and sex trafficking: ‘Expression “exploitation” shall include any act of physical exploitation or any form of sexual exploitation, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, or the forced removal of organs.’

“This formulation clarifies the government’s stand of removing adults voluntarily involved in sex work from the ambit of criminalisation,” said Meena Seshu, from the National Network of Sex Workers (NNSW). “This has given a new lease of life to people who are in the sex trade of their own volition, and enables them to seek legal protection if they face violence while working.”

A written clarification issued by the Justice Verma Commission on the framing of the amended Section 370 helped strengthen this stand. “Their intention behind recommending the amendment to Section 370 was to protect women and children from being trafficked. The Committee clarified that it did not intend to bring within the ambit of the amended Section 370 “sex workers who practice of their own volition”.

Madhu Mehra of Partners in Law and Development said, “The distinction between sexual exploitation and consensual adult sex work is very significant as it enables the sex workers and their advocates to legally contest oppressive and forced sex work towards creation of safe and dignified work conditions for sex workers.”

Legislations such as the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act has been criticized by human rights activists, organisations and sex workers, on the grounds that the legal provisions have given law enforcement, unbridled powers of arresting and detaining consenting adult sex workers. “Instead of focussing on arresting traffickers, due to ambiguity within the law, adult consenting sex workers were the first targets,” said advocate Vrinda Grover.

@powerofyogesh

 

Death penalty for family members in India ‘honour killing’


 

The house where Asha and Yogesh were killedThe young couple was beaten, tortured and electrocuted in Asha’s uncle’s home in Delhi
OCT 5, 2012, New Delhi

Five members of a family in the Indian capital, Delhi, have been sentenced to death for the brutal murder of a young couple in 2010.

Yogesh and Asha were tortured and electrocuted in a so-called honour killing by members of Asha’s family who objected to the union on caste grounds.

Asha’s parents, her uncle, aunt and a cousin were arrested the day after the crime. They were convicted on Monday.

Last year the Supreme Court said honour killings should get the death penalty.

There are no statistics on the number of honour killings across the country, but according to one recent study, hundreds of people are killed each year for falling in love or marrying against their families’ wishes.

Most parents in India still prefer arranged marriages within their own caste and relationships outside of caste are frowned upon.

The couple, who were neighbours in the Gokulpuri area of north-east Delhi, were taken by Asha’s parents to her uncle’s house in the Swaroop Nagar area of the city where the torture and killings took place.

Asha’s family was opposed to the couple’s plans to get married because Yogesh belonged to a lower caste. All five accused were convicted on Monday for “murder and voluntarily causing hurt”.

“It can be safely concluded that the prosecution has been able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused persons had caused the death of the victims with the common intention after giving them merciless beatings by tying them with rope and thereafter electrocuting them on various parts of their body,” Additional Sessions Judge Ramesh Kumar said on Monday.

 

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