The Supreme Court Friday said rescue and rehabilitation of girl sex workers was a complex problem, and could not be solved without schemes for their rehabilitation. The transgender dimension of the issue should also be looked into, it said
"It is very complex. It is also a transgender problem and it is not confined to girls alone. It is very complicated problem," said a bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra.
While Justice Misra wanted to block the entry of new sex workers, Justice Kabir pointed to girls from relatively well-off families and studying in colleges and universities too taking to the sex trade with a desire to change their lifestyles and go to malls.
"Can you do something that the inclusion of new sex workers does not take place," Justice Misra asked senior counsel Pradeep Ghosh and Jayant Bhushan who are amicus curiae and member of the court-appointed committee for putting in place a framework for identification and rehabilitation of sex workers.
The court said this in the course of the hearing of a PIL seeking the rescue and rehabilitation of the sex workers willing to give up the sex trade.
Justice Kabir described suggestions by Jayant Bhushan "extremely relevant" and said that unless an infrastructure was put in place, the entire effort would go waste.
"Unless you have rehabilitation schemes, even if you rescue them (sex worker), it will be of no consequence," the court observed.
The court asked the counsel assisting it to involve National Commission for Women chairperson Mamta Sharma, National Commission for Women and Child Welfare head Shanta Sinha, and Bachpan Bachao Andolan's Bhushan Bhrigu and Kailash Vidyarthi in its activities.
Justice Misra said the formulation of plan for the rescue and rehabilitation of sex workers could go along with the concrete steps in this direction. She said that the court should have the satisfaction that if it was dealing with the problem, something positive and concrete should emerge in every hearing of the case.
"Let the states tell the court that in the intervening period between two hearings, they have rescued one, two, three sex workers and rehabilitated them," she said, adding that in every hearing, the court will take up one state and suggested Delhi be taken up in the next hearing.
Justice Kabir came down heavily on the central government for its failure to provide the office and secretarial staff to the panel constituted by it for taking steps in pursuance of its directions.
The court adjourned the hearing giving three weeks time to the central government to find a place for its panel. It directed the listing of matter after three weeks.
The court had earlier said that the schemes for the rehabilitation of sex workers should also include the marketing of the products that will be produced by the rehabilitated sex workers. In the absence of such an arrangement, things would get back to square one as they would not be able to feed themselves, it observed.