statesman news service
Kolkata, 29 January
Till the idea of dominating women continues to prevail in the Indian society, no criminal law can stop crimes against women and the recent gangrape in Lavpur village is an example, said feminist and social activist Gloria Steinem.
“The pride that man usually possess and his ‘I am superior than others’ attitude needs to be changed,” said Ms Steinem.
“Prostitution involves body invasion and so it is not like any other work. So how can you call it sex work? Prostitution is the only word you should use,” she said while speaking to reporters about her new book As if Women Matter which includes new essays on sex trafficking.
Ms Steinem described prostitution as “commercial rape” and said it was wrong to call a prostitute a sex worker.
Ms Steinem is an American feminist, journalist, and social and political activist. She became popular and was nationally recognised for the women’s liberation movement.
It is the circumstances and exploitation which force women to take up prostitution, and hence it should be decriminalised. Ms Steinem strongly believes that traffickers should be punished. “When a girl is put into prostitution at the age of 12 or 14, she does not have any choice,” she said.
She believes prostitution was never a profession but oppression.
Meanwhile, a New York-based Human Rights lawyer, Ms Jessica Neuwirth, said that mere criminal laws cannot curb the crimes against women.
“Prostitutes are victims of poverty and unemployment and these force them into the flesh trade,” said Ms Neuwirth while speaking to The Statesman. Girls should be educated which will in turn provide them better job opportunities, she said.