“I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It’s all a question of how I view my life.”― Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

Eleven minutes is a book which gives different perspective into the world of a prostitute who is also a human being.

 “Prostitution is offering and provision of sexual services for financial gain or barter.”

If we look back in the history of the world, may it be Asia or Europe, prostitution has existed since the start of civilization. It has been in existence from the beginning of ancient society and trade. If you take a good look at prostitution as an occupation, it’s one of the oldest professions in human history. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, thousands or even millions of women and girls from continental Europe and Japan were trafficked into British India.

If we have a look at the present scenario then “There are approximately 10 million prostitutes in India.” There are more than 100,000 women in prostitution in Bombay, Asia’s largest sex industry center. The red-light district in Bombay generates at least $400 million a year in revenue, with 100,000 prostitutes servicing men 365 days a year, averaging 6 customers a day, at $2 each. Sonagachi in Kolkata, Kamathipura in Mumbai, G.B Road in New Delhi, Reshampura in Gwalior, Budhwar Peth in Pune, host thousands of sex workers & are the famous red-light centers in India.

In a country like India, prostitutes are not legally considered as existing people on record. They suffer all problems in society but they are not provided any legal aid for their rights. They deserve dignified life if considered a human right. Apart from it, due to this profession being considered bad, illegal, it’s mostly practiced behind the back door in the society.

Legalizing prostitution does not mean indirectly inviting, encouraging prostitution, or showing lucrative employment opportunities to the young generation. In spite of prostitution considered as an illegal activity in India, human trafficking is still into existence.

Supreme Court of India in December 2009 asked the govt. “If you are not able to curb it by laws then legalize it,” SC added that- legalizing prostitution would help monitor the trade and rehabilitate sex workers. Legalizing will ensure a secure & safe future for sex workers, their children and those who’re involved in this. They would get a better living, a chance to opt for better career options instead of a compelling situation where they are not having many options but to join their parents into illegal activity. These females would be legally fit for claiming for protection under offensive, physical or mental torture, violence.

On the morality issue, which many people have debated over prostitution, Prostitution is not going away.  Legalize it and regulate it. People are needed to have a realistic approach rather than being moral, especially when there are no specific laws to control other illegal activities. In societies and countries where prostitution is legalized, regulated and monitored, rates have dropped in crime, prisons being overcrowded, murder, suicide rate has gone down, STD, HIV and AIDS cases have also dropped. Another benefit of legalizing prostitution is to the prostitutes themselves, who are treated poorly by pimps and abused or owned by gangs. Keeping prostitution illegal contributes to crime because criminals make prostitutes and their customers an easy target for fraud, robbery, and other criminal acts. It would also help, if prostitution will be monitored, to make sure there will be no more human trafficking, no more minors being into that trade.

Deepen Upadhyay