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Is India Becoming a Nation of Porn and Prostitutes?

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Is India Becoming a Nation of Porn and Prostitutes?
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Teacher:  Girl, who is your role model’?

Girl: Ma’am, Indrani Mukharjee!

Teacher: (Shocked) ! Why? 

Girl:  See Ma’am, Abdul Kalam passed away, no debate. Sania won Wimbledon, 10 minutes coverage. 4/5 toppers in IAS are women, do you even know? Indian women hockey team got entry in Olympics after 20 years have you ever heard? Have you ever seen any interview from Indra Nooyi …Chanda Kochchar…???

Look at Indrani Mukharjee, they are covering every details of her life, how much struggle she had to go through, how ambitious she is, how beautiful she looked….how many husbands she had…what companies she ran…I am inspired the way I see in TV…Ma’am I want to become full cover story like Indrani Mukharjee ..!

–  A message circulating in Social Media

There won’t be any harm if one replaces Indrani Mukherjee with Sunny Leone in above message, along with corresponding attributes.

Indrani Mukherjea

In these pages, I had written an article “Choosing between Porn, Prostitution and Murder” (http://indiafacts.co.in/choosing-porn-prostitution-murder/) exactly a year ago. I had observed that “it is difficult to fathom that there are Indian girls (not counting statistical errors) who grow up with an aspiration to become porn stars or prostitutes.

The article was about life of Shweta Basu, Shruthi Chandralekha and Sunny Leone and their image in society. My fear was that society is giving wrong options to the young girls of this nation.

To an extent, Shweta Basu and Shruti Chandralekha were victims of circumstances also, but sunny Leone’s choice was of her making and she is proud of it. And unfortunately, in last one year, its Sunny Leone who has come out as a winner among the three.

Sunny Leone takes credit for the mainstreamising of porn, saying: “My presence on Bigg Boss has empowered a lot of people to be open about their sexuality.” …… Leone has certainly benefitted financially: she says 80 per cent of her web traffic and 60 per cent of her “high six figures” revenue now comes from India. (http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/samira-shackle/2012/08/rise-porn-india)

Government, Court, Media, Activist and Porn

In the article I had also mentioned “For the media and film industry, porn and prostitution are hard cash in the form of advertisements and indirect cash in the form of readers and viewers. The economics of porn and prostitution has been extensively covered in the media albeit without saying how much the media makes by peddling it.

In the same article I had urged government to take corrective actions. But every step of the government to preserve the sanctity of society is hounded in the name of freedom of expression, mostly by the feminist.

This was evident when the government blocked access to 857 websites hosting pornographic content. The reaction in India was described by BBC as “but not even the government could have predicted the scale and level of outrage that the order unleashed as Indians heaped criticism and scorn on the move.”

Most probably because of the outcry in media by few individuals, both the government and Supreme Court of India didn’t find anything wrong in watching porn and backed out from the ban. As per media reports, following are the view of government and the Honorable Supreme Court respectively:

Government’s view:

“Two persons watching something in their bedroom can’t be penalised … we cannot be present in everyone’s bedroom,” attorney general Mukul Rohatgi told a bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu, who was hearing a petition seeking curbs on porn portals. He said a larger debate was required in society or in Parliament on blocking porn sites.

Honorable Supreme Court’s view:

“It is an issue for the government to deal with. Can we pass an interim order directing blocking of all adult websites? And let us keep in mind the possible contention of a person who could ask what crime have I committed by browsing adult websites in private within the four walls of my house. Could he not argue about his right to freedom to do something within the four walls of his house without violating any law?” the Bench headed by Justice Dattu had said.

So it boiled down to the fact that porn is “good” if it is within four walls. Well if there can be ‘good Taliban’ I am sure there can be ‘good Porn’.

Ran Gavrieli

I will take this opportunity to share a video talk of Ran Gavrieli delivered at TEDx Talk; titled “Why I stopped watching porn”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRJ_QfP2mhU

If you have watched the video, then read the reactions of feminists in India.

Feminist Sreemreemoyee Piu Kundu, who, to be fair, refuses to be called a feminist and is supposed to be still searching for a word that describes her, wrote the following:

“Don’t ban: Indian women love porn too” – Is it simpler for us to exist as mute recipients of pleasure and penetration?” (http://www.dailyo.in/lifestyle/ban-porn-supreme-court-indian-women-pornland-comedy-nights-with-kapil-sex-family/story/1/4910.html)

Sreemreemoyee Piu Kundu’s great understanding of women’s liberation doesn’t stop here. In another article she says “What’s wrong with a brother and sister falling in love?” (http://www.dailyo.in/lifestyle/raksha-bandhan-incest-relationships-brother-sister-having-sex-incest/story/1/5894.html)“….With a festivals like RakshaBandhan, celebrated with much aplomb in this country, and defines so much of what is sacred between siblings – besides tacitly validating the eternal feminine need of being protected by a stronger male prototype… That behind all the fuss even with the ongoing Peter Mukherjea’s wife, Indrani’s arrest could be the trajectory of a murdered young woman, Sheena Bora who possibly developed a romantic relationship with her mother’s third husband’s eldest son, Rahul. Technically, her step brother.

Why are we going red-faced at this sudden twist in the case? Because, it’s all in the family, or because we like to preserve asexual notions of who we are as a community? Because we like to quote the most common statistic – that cousin marriages are a widespread practice in much of the Muslim world, with more than half of all marriages in the Middle East being consanguineous. The most common type being that amongst patrilateral first-cousins.”

So there is no dearth of feminists like Sreemreemoyee Piu Kundu for whom “porn is good, RakshaBandhan is bad”, “Sex Slaves of ISIS are good, Durga is bad”, “Burqa is Good, covering of Head is bad”, “Keeping four wives is good, joint family is bad”, “Slut is good, Seeta is bad”. (http://www.dailyo.in/lifestyle/who-is-the-indian-housewife-slut-or-saint/story/1/843.html)

Government, Court, Media, Activist and Prostitution

Not surprising, there are women who want “prostitution to be legalised.”

A report in The Economist dated 1st November 2014 says “Five years ago the Supreme Court said prostitution should be legalised.” (http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21629472-proper-debate-needed-legalising-sex-work-make-it-legal)

While The Pioneer reported on 11 January 2015, “Last year, on November 8, 2014, a proposal to legalise prostitution in India was put before a Supreme Court constituted panel. The panel was set up on a public interest litigation filed by the BachpanBachaoAndolan in 2010 seeking a curb on larges scale child trafficking. A Supreme Court bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice AK Patnaik asked the Solicitor General: “When you say it is the world’s oldest profession and when you are not able to curb it by laws, why don’t you legalise it?” (http://www.dailypioneer.com/sunday-edition/sunday-pioneer/special/prostitution-legal-debate.html)

Who is right, The economist or The Pioneer? Anyway, I am not surprised with the court’s stand in either of the report. After all honorable courts in India legalised live-in-relationships.

NCW chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam has said she is strongly in favor of legalizing prostitution.  She said such will lead to “easier control of the situation in which paid sex takes place.” It would lead to better working conditions for sex workers as well as protect their health. She also said that while she was all for legalizing the profession, she didn’t think it would have any bearing on incidents of rape.

Lalitha Kumaramangalam

Kumaramangalam’s view got support from former NCW chief Mamata Sharma. Abha Singh, prominent activist and lawyer, went further and said that incidents of rape in Mumbai are less because of the presence of ‘several red light areas’ in the city, (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/article-2798508/legalisation-prostitution-help-protect-vulnerable-women-india.html)

Here I will like to share the situation of red light areas in Mumbai, which makes Abha Singh so proud. A London photographer has revealed horrifying details about India’s sex trade and the conditions in which young girls are kept before being pimped on the streets. (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/28/trafficked-india-red-light-districts)

Hazel Thompson, who spent 11 years investigating the Indian sex trade, published a book detailing her findings in October this year. She writes: “Eventually, guided by my Indian fixer, I came to a dimly lit door at the end of a corridor. Like a prison guard, an ageing madam came to the front of the brothel and unlocked the large padlock with her set of keys. I was taken into the reception area of the brothel, the space where the customers are taken to select a girl. In the ceiling I could see a small, open trap door. When the madam had disappeared, I climbed up a wooden ladder and pushed through the small gap.

Suddenly I was face to face with a “box cage”. I knew what I was looking at. The prostitutes had told me of the caged rooms and boxes they had been held in for months, even years, when they were first taken and trafficked to the red-light district. The madams would keep the girls like slaves in the cages until they were “broken”, to the extent that they would not try to run away. The girls told me they never knew if it was night or day. They were only taken out to eat or to be given to a customer for sex. For years I had wanted to photograph these cages, to prove that these places actually exist.

 One woman, named Guddi, was taken to Kamathipura when she was 11 by traffickers. At the age of 22, she now works as a prostitute and has been unable to escape, despite help from charities.”

India has over 3 million sex workers. Children are abducted, trapped and forced into flesh trade.

Mint reported the following on 4 September 2014:

 “The demand for young girls is high because of a belief that sex with children holds less risk of HIV infection, and, in fact, can cure the disease. Dasra, along with organizations such as the UK’s Hummingbird Trust and Japan’s Kamonohashi Project, find that as many as 40% trafficked girls in the sex trade are adolescents and 15% are below the age of 15.”

Porn, Prostitution and Economics

Mint also reported:

“According to the United Nations, human trafficking is now the third most lucrative criminal enterprise in the world after weapons and narcotics.

The annual revenue generated by just one brothel can range between Rs.1.5 crore to Rs.14.40 crore, says NGO BachpanBachaoAndolan. Annually, the sex trafficking industry in India generates roughly $9 billion. “The total Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) industry in the country generates revenues amounting to $30-343 billion per year,” states Global March Against Child Labour’s report Economics Behind Forced Labour Trafficking.

“It is a shocking revelation that $360 billion, or Rs.21 lakh crore, is generated by enslaving young girls in brothels and homes—that is equivalent to one-fifth of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product). This black money propels capital corruption,” says Kailash Satyarthi..”

(http://www.livemint.com/Politics/NF6no9ZEl1TQWyV2CLF8LI/The-human-cost-of-sex-trafficking.html)

Before someone starts offering an MBA in porn and prostitution let me cite example from France where currently, prostitution is legal.

There are about 37,000 prostitutes in France who cost the country €1.6 billion a year (over $1.7 billion), a new study has revealed. It put the industry’s annual turnover at €3.2 billion. The report called Prostcost was issued by the Mouvement du Nid, an organization aimed at helping sex workers, and conducted with the help of the Psytel, a company which provides public health statistics. (http://www.rt.com/news/262905-prostitution-france-costs-billions/)

[contextly_sidebar id=”rrOUveQbZiDxDd1chviYtUwcIGxrStMS”]

…the number of prostitutes in France to stand at about 37,000…..the average annual income of the industry stands at €87,700 ($96,000) and most of it is sent abroad. The authors also put the industry’s tax evasion at €853 million ($934 million) a year.

……compared these figures with the social spending such as emergency accommodation, social benefits, preventive measures, etc. provided to prostitutes, which they say are between €50 and €65 million ($55-$71 million). They add that public funding for associations that support sex workers is less that €2.4 million ($2.6 million)

..The report warns there is a high human cost for prostitutes considering they are six times more likely to be victims of rape and 12 times more likely to commit suicide than people of other professions.

There are economic angles to this industry and pornography. Mint on 9th September 2015 reported, porn ban could cost Indian ISPs, telcos 30-70% of data revenue. It quotes:

“Through our discussions with the various Internet Service Providers (ISPs), we have been able to estimate that as much as 30-70% of the total browsing in the country is related to pornography,” a senior executive at an Internet industry body said. (http://www.livemint.com/Industry/VhuXq3jfADn2CrhK8nJ7pL/Oops-Indian-ISPs-telcos-could-lose-3070-of-data-revenue.html)

But the complete picture emerges when one looks at the finding of following two reports:

Q3 2014 State of the Internet report of Akamai Technologies states: India’s average internet speed continues to be slowest among countries in the Asia-Pacific region. (http://www.medianama.com/2015/01/223-india-internet-speed-akamai-q32014/)

According to a November 2014 study by Quartz, in association with Pornhub, the largest pornography site, Indians were the fifth worldwide in terms of number of daily visitors to the site, and fourth in terms of the number of worldwide visitors using a mobile device. The average duration of a visit from India lasted eight minutes and 22 seconds, …Also, Indians generally visited an average of 7.32 pages per visit..

A simple ban on porn will provide huge amount of additional bandwidth for genuine economic activity in India. Besides this, the savings in man-hours will be immense, as indicated by the following study:

One out of five mobile users in India wants adult content on his 3G-enabled phone, according to an 2011 IMRB Survey. Over 47 per cent students discuss porn every day, says a public school survey by Max Hospital in Delhi. Porn tops the list of cyber crimes in India, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.

So, effectively, a ban on pornography will help in reducing crime rates as well.

Thus a comparison of both the direct and indirect negative effect of having “porn and prostitution” with the positives emerging out of a ban on them, makes the case for ban almost a no brainer.

Porn, Prostitution and Public

Inspite of all so many negatives, there will be media and a small segment who controls it along with the likes of “pink chaddi brigade” and “Kiss of Love” gang, will continue to glorify porn and prostitution in the same way they glorify Jodha Bai (and not Rani Durgawati). If these groups had their way, they would probably even demand that the life of Aqsa Mahmood be taught to Indian girls; Aqsa Mahmood being the woman who runs ISIS’s sex-slave brothels. (http://english.alarabiya.net/en/variety/2014/09/12/UK-female-jihadists-run-ISIS-sex-slave-brothels.html). They can also call for women to offer themselves as sexual comfort women for ISIS fighters on the lines of Malyasian women, in the name of freedom of expression.(http://www.businessinsider.my/malaysian-women-join-isis-sexual-jihad/#gkcG1fQxLzxo1DYd.99)

Government will not be able to stand up to them. Through Attorney General, government has already conveyed:  “a larger debate was required in society..”

It is time India as a nation, and as a society stood up and decided what options they would want to give to the girl-child. Each family will have to stand up against this onslaught on the family values by a few rotten minds. Otherwise all the campaigns like “BetiBachhaoBetiPdhao” will lead to more Sunny Leone and Indrani Mukherjea kind of women. The last thing any sane Indian would want is for the nation to be known as a country of porn and prostitutes.

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