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Last Updated: Friday, 9 December 2005, 12:07 GMT
India sex workers stage protest
By Upasana Bhat
BBC News, Delhi

Sex workers (photo courtesy: DMSC)
Sex workers say the punishing a client is 'unfair'
Sex workers from across India have protested against proposed changes in laws on checking prostitution.

The 49-year-old law now proposes to "punish" people who are found in brothels for sex, among other things, a spokesperson for sex workers said.

The sex workers say such proposals will "stifle" their livelihood.

India's sex workers have already demanded legalisation of their profession. They say it is crucial for the future of their children.

"How will we survive if they start punishing our clients? The proposal is unfair," said Satyabati, a sex worker from the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.


Tripti Tandon, an activist working for sex workers rights, said though the federal government had not yet announced the proposed changes, they had given "a note which gives an outline of the proposals".

She said the proposed changes also give more power to the police to raid brothels and call for increased punishment for a person who manages or assists in running brothels.

The National Network of Sex Workers, which claims to represent some 200,000 sex workers across India, has opposed this change, saying it will only lead to more harassment by the police.

The group has already pledged to intensify their campaign for legalisation of their profession.

But some feminist groups say sex workers should proceed slowly - first they should get the rights of normal citizens and then they should intensify the fight for legalisation of the trade.

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