Prostitutes At Pubs And Bars
There are two kinds of reactions at any mention of prostitutes near pubs and bars. Outrage and outrage. The first is the moral police outrage over the very existence of prostitutes and the second is the outrage of those who go to pubs and bars over "people like us" being called prostitutes. Neither is particularly useful in terms of having a mature response.
To begin with, statements like these are basically opinions based on the speaker's perception. It is like showing you a box with red and blue dots in it. If I ask you how many red? You notice red more and vice versa. Even if the dots are exactly same in number. To police who run raids and such, the perception of prostitutes is higher, while someone routinely frequents pubs and bars, the girls don't look out of the ordinary or alien.
It is highly unlikely [and unnecessary] that there is any research available over the percentage of prostitutes among patrons. Even if it were, I doubt if it could be the standard across establishments. So either the claim or the outrage have little basis in fact.
Are there prostitutes in pubs and bars? Kind of, yes. Kind of, because it varies. Some are simply escort girls who accompany stags so that they can enter. Others are prostitutes in the 'sex for money' understanding. However, I don't think there is any way of knowing who is who or ordinary customers with any reliability.
I think the issue is more about "so what?". So what if there are prostitutes? Prostitution is not illegal. Do we separate architects from the rest? As long as we hyperventilate over their existence, or their existence being commented on, we keep missing this.
Recently when Dhoble did the raids, some newspaper had indignantly published interviews of the girls caught in it who were forced into a month of rehab, it seems. Ruined reputations, etc. I asked several people who all agree that it is not possible that normal patrons of any place were forced into one month stay anywhere. The understanding I got of the situation was that girls suspected of being prostitutes are taken away by the police to ensure they are not trafficked (any pimps, etc are arrested). They are taken to a women's shelter and released to a relative after verification. Even real prostitutes are released. So this one month of rehab, the newspaper went on and on about is unlikely to have been about prostitution at all.
There are several other factors into play here. One being the goal of the "news". Dhoble was made out to be the villain, but beyond the initial raid, he had no role. It is a court that decides the girls go to a women's shelter or not. Once at the shelter, their stay is there. Dhoble has zero do do with it. When they are released after identities are verified (by a policeman actually visiting home and verifying it by asking around), that is that.
When 14 girls are "caught" in a raid and a newspaper rushes to prove their innocence, it is worth asking if there were only 14 female patrons in the place. Rehabilitation is not for prostitution, but underage drinking or drugs, etc. The decision if it is appropriate depends on the judge and is based on several considerations and questioning of the "victims" as they started being called. The court doesn't have an all seeing eye. It goes by the answers given by the girls, and if they seem credible.
This isn't about Dhoble, really. It is about "prostitutes". This predictable counter outrage about prostitutes was used beautifully in the campaign against Dhoble. This is not to say that Dhoble is right either. It is simply how our illogical thinking around this subject is actually clueless and used more to brainwash than educate.
Cutting to today, again, another predictable use of the prostitute theory was made by the editor at NewsLive about the victim of the mob molestation. "Prostitutes form a major chunk of girls who visit bars and night clubs" tweeted Atanu Bhuyan, editor at News Live, as if that explains why she got molested. And this may even be true, but even if she was a famous prostitute, it doesn't excuse touching her without permission, let alone molestation.
Those who want to whip up public opinion will use this statement from either end, but both ends are damaging to prostitutes, because while one explains wrongs done to them, the other says the wrongs were wrongs because they weren't prostitutes. Both sentences shame prostitutes and deny them basic dignity.
It is high time whether a person was a prostitute or not was declared irrelevant to ensuring the person's fundamental right to dignity.
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