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Sex workers in India continue to face difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They have lost their livelihoods, have limited access to healthcare and face increased violence, in this context discuss the need to grant basic labour rights to sex workers in the country.

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

6. Sex workers in India continue to face difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They have lost their livelihoods, have limited access to healthcare and face increased violence, in this context discuss the need to grant basic labour rights to sex workers in the country. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article presents the viewpoint that adults have the right to earn through providing sexual services and live with dignity.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the idea of considering the demands of the sex workers to grant them basic labour rights in the country.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the context of the question.

Body:

Owing to the non-recognition of sex work as “legitimate work”, sex workers have mostly been kept at arm’s length from the government’s relief programmes. COVID-19 has thus provided more reason to consider a long-pending demand of sex workers in India — decriminalization of sex work and a guaranteed set of labour rights.

Explain why do sex workers face double burden? Throw light upon the current legal provisions.

Highlight the associated concerns.

Suggest what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

The Supreme Court, in Budhadev Karmaskar v. State of West Bengal (2011), opined that sex workers have a right to dignity. Parliament must also take a re-look at the existing legislation and do away with the ‘victim-rescue-rehabilitation’ narrative.