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Report No. 64

Chapter 3A

Comparative Position

3A.1. Prostitution being a world-wide phenomenon, it may not be out of place to make a brief comparative survey1 of the legal position in respect of the problem. It appears that countries of the world can, with reference to the legal attitude towards prostitution, be classified into four broad categories:-

(a) total prohibition;

(b) regulation;

(c) repression;

(d) total toleration.

Countries in category (a) regard prostitution as illegal in all cases. In these countries prostitution per se is a crime. Hence, even clandestine misconduct is punishable. Countries in category (b) regulate prostitution by licensing or other measures, but do not prohibit it totally. Under the traditional system of regulation, licensed brothels are allowed, and the inmates of the brothels are issued cards and may ply their trade subject to certain rules laid down by law. There is also what has been called the "neo-regulationist system", under which brothels are prohibited, but prostitutes hold cards and are supervised by health authorities. Countries in category (c)-to which India belongs-repress prostitution by forbidding its blatant manifestations; while those in category (d) impose no prohibitions or restrictions on prostitution.

1. For a detailed survey of the laws of other countries, see Appendix.

Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956 Back

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