The corporate bigwigs across the world might be holding meets to discuss the challenges of another economically tepid year, but there are a few industries that are going from boom to boom and they really don’t know what business loss is. This is the flourishing industry of sex tourism with an annual turnover of around $30 billion (in India only). The industry thrives on human trafficking. Every year more than 16 million women and girls in South Asia become hapless victims of trafficking and are sold to customers for inhumane sex slavery.
Because of the growing public outcry against human trafficking, strict laws were passed by Parliament, which made the prosecution of brothel managers, agents, and traffickers possible. However, despite the laws, little seems to have changed. In fact, things only seem to be going from bad to worse mainly because punishing those who sell sex workers is not sufficient; it is more important to punish those who buy. The supply of sex workers will grow if the demand grows. Therefore, a crackdown on those who purchase sex, thereby forcing women and children to sell their bodies is very important.
In such a grim situation, the move to criminalize sex buyers taken by the state government of Andhra Pradesh gives a whiff of hope. Andhra Pradesh has become the first state in India to appoint a panel of legal experts and campaigners to make recommendations within the 2 months regarding the application of anti-trafficking laws on the purchasers of sex. Panel member Sunitha Krishnan said, “The buyers are the ones creating the demand. Girls will continue to be sold until buyers are criminalized.”
The role of police in this regard is also very crucial. People will not stop visiting brothels unless police come into action and work with promptness.
Whether or not the government of Andhra Pradesh will actually succeed in passing this law, only time will tell. But we hope that this is a step in the right direction and that the government will also take care to rehabilitate the sex workers to have a more respectable life.
We hope that this will #ChangeTheStatistics.