Observing that human decency and dignity extend to sex workers and their children, the Supreme Court has directed police forces in all states and Union territories to treat sex workers with dignity and not to abuse them, verbally or physically. It said prostitution is a profession and sex workers are entitled to dignity and equal protection under the law. Any sex worker who is a victim of sexual assault should be provided with all facilities available to a survivor of sexual assault, including immediate medical assistance, in accordance with law, it said.
"It has been noticed that the attitude of the police to sex workers is often brutal and violent. It is as if they are a class whose rights are not recognised. The police and other law enforcement agencies should be sensitised to the rights of sex workers who also enjoy all basic human rights and other rights guaranteed in the Constitution to all citizens. Police should treat all sex workers with dignity and should not abuse them, both verbally and physically, subject them to violence or coerce them into any sexual activity," the court ordered.
Soon after the judgement, netizens lauded the Supreme Court for this step. Calling it a positive news, a user wrote, " #sexworker also have there own life and this is one of the best step for them." Another wrote, "Thanku for good decision of #SupremeCourt for #sexworkers iske karan india me rape jaise mamle samne nhi aayenge aur aayenge bhi bahut kam woh bhi kuch time ke bad khatm ho jayenge." A third comment read, "A very good decision. Now it will help sex workers yo get justice in legal system and get protection frm disturbing elements. Oldest trade, last recognition. Der aaye par durust aaye."
Also, the court noted, "the child of a sex worker should not be separated from the mother merely on the ground that she is in the sex trade."
(With PTI inputs)