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Prostitution, is a word with which almost every person in this world is familiar, maybe for different reasons, but with a similar intention. Prostitution is the act or practice of engaging in promiscuous sexual relations, especially for the money[1]. It is a very common activity in India, with major prostitution hubs present all around the country. Kamathipura in Mumbai, Sonagachi in Kolkata, and Budhwar Peth in Pune are a few of the well-known red-light areas in India. Apart from the physical prostitution rackets like brothels, massage parlours, online booking websites, clubs, pubs etc. are also sources where one can find prostitutes. Unlike in previous years, prostitution is not limited to women now. Men and transgenders have also entered this field of selling their bodies for money. The number of men engaged in prostitution is on the rise with some entering due to financial needs while some are ‘forced’[2]. The term ‘forced’ implies, men are dragged into prostitution without their consent and made to do sexual activities with women, men, and transgenders. This becomes a curious topic of research as it remains a not-so-spoken-about topic and thus is expressed in my blog.


Prostitution is not a new concept in India. It has been growing more and more with time. This is a profession which required minimal hard work and guarantees a good amount of money. The scale on which prostitution runs around the country is huge. However, years ago prostitution was a concept identified for and developed for women. Some women were and are engaged in prostitution for financial needs, while some are forced into this field. The scenario is similar to the growing concept of male prostitution as well. Few men enter this field to tackle their poor financial conditions, few are forced to join, while few come in just for pleasure, enjoyment, to fulfil their lust and to make easy money.

The recent headlines made by the Supreme Court of India wherein Prostitution was recognised as a profession and sex workers’ entitlement to dignity and constitutional rights[3]was seen as a major development in the field of prostitution. The growth in male prostitution was seen immensely after this judgement. However, there was a fair amount of involvement of men in prostitution before the judgement as well, but it was not under the radar and was quiet. After becoming an established and recognised profession, the number of male prostitutes increased and slowly and steadily it became a topic of discussion, like female prostitution. Male prostitution is also exposed to several issues such as contact with HIV AIDS, loss of reputation if exposed, threats of life and property, danger to life and property and many more. It is also known that where there are no female clients, male prostitutes sell themselves to male clients as well[4]. This statement can be seen because of increasing lust among male prostitutes or greed for money or need for money or forcefulness of dealers. The increasing number of trafficking cases is also a major reason for the increasing number of male prostitutes in India.

In India, prostitution is not explicitly illegal as the punishment for prostitution is not specifically expressed in law[5]. However, few activities related to prostitution such as running brothels, soliciting, trafficking, and pimping are all punishable offences under The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956[6]. For instance, if a man was caught running a brothel, then he is liable for punishment under the law but if he is caught receiving money in exchange for sex with consent, then he is not liable to any punishment as the said act is not illegal in India.


Lust is the most powerful weapon to take down men, not only in India but in the entire world. What makes the strongest weapon for the enemy, becomes the biggest weakness of the protagonists. Online sites to recruit men for providing “Services” to women are flooded over the internet. A random man, blindly browsing through for satisfying his lust, comes across a post saying, “Playboys and Gigolos hired”, and jumps into the well of greed, where his lust can bring him money. A job which does not require any amount of hard work is rare to find at these times. And amongst this, when someone finds a job where his thirst for “sex” can calm his hunger for “money”, he loses his ability to think and analyse and follows the path of greed. This greed and lust for money and sex boost the “Online hiring sites”. Men reach out to these sites in search of money through sex and their desperateness boosts the trappers. These online websites promise lots of female clients every week and even more amount of money as well. But what they seek is a registration amount to start with which is around Two Thousand Rupees. Post the registration fees and before the first meeting with the “Female Client”, they then seek an amount in the name of a security deposit which they claim to be refundable after the completion of the meeting. This amount revolves around a hefty Twenty Thousand to Thirty Thousand Rupees. This demand for a security deposit is made by the online recruiter minutes before the meeting so men often fail to reject this demand in the greediness for sex. What happens next, is fairly predictable. Men have fallen into “The Trap” of online scams in the name of money and sex. In this manner, male prostitution is used as a trap, to trap men around the country through online sites. This crime is punishable under the Information Technology Act,2000 and the India Penal Code, 1860[7].


A Kerela State Aids Control Society (KSACS) survey sent shockwaves across the nation in 2019 when it released the data on the number of male and female sex workers in Kerela. It reported an astonishing 13,331 active male sex workers while a humongous 17,000 female sex workers in the state[8]. It wouldn’t be surprising if the estimate of the number of male prostitutes across India crosses the 2-lakh mark at present.


The numbers presented are worrisome with more and more people choosing to sell their bodies for money. As said, this could be voluntary as well as forceful. There are stringent laws in place for sex trafficking and punishing the ones running sex trafficking rackets but still, the number is not under control. Strong and strict measures should be taken by the authorities to control this rising number of sex trafficking rackets with more and more people falling prey to them in recent years. Voluntary prostitution, either male or female, is a personal choice. There is consent and monetary benefit involved, which makes it difficult for the law to control the same. A person’s personal choice cannot be judged, for there might be several unknown reasons for his/her actions. Every profession must be respected as we are no one to judge their actions and we are blind about their reasons as well. Unfavourable situations make people do things which they would avoid in other situations.

Author(s) Name: Shashank Chawathe, (IFIM Law School,Bangalore)


[1] Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Prostitution definition & meaning. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from

[2]TejaswiniPagadala, “India Together: Bodies for Sale, by Men Too – 12 March 2014” (India Together: Bodies for sale, by men too – 12 March 2014, March 12, 2014)

[3]Why Supreme Court’s acknowledgement of sex work as a profession is welcome. The Indian Express. (2022, May 30). Retrieved November 2, 2022, from

[4] -, D. R., By, -, Rai, D., & here, P. enter your name. (2022, January 11). Legal aspects related to prostitution in India. iPleaders. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from

[5] -, D. R., By, -, Rai, D., & here, P. enter your name. (2022, January 11). Legal aspects related to prostitution in India. iPleaders. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from

[6] -, D. R., By, -, Rai, D., & here, P. enter your name. (2022, January 11). Legal aspects related to prostitution in India. iPleaders. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from

[7] -, R. G., By, -, Garg, R., & here, P. enter your name. (2022, April 28). Cyber-crime laws in India. iPleaders. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from

[8] Deccan Chronicle. (2019, October 20). 13,331 male sex workers in Kerala. Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from