//Four million prostitutes nationwide

Four million prostitutes nationwide

30 June, 2006, IANS

BHARATPUR: India has 4mn prostitutes and their number is likely to swell to 10mn in a few years, says a nationwide study conducted for the department of women and child development.

About 35% of prostitutes forced into the trade in the country are below 18 years of age, reveals the study conducted between 2002 and 2004.

"The worst thing is that most of the girls are between 12 and 15 years," K Mukherjee, who conducted the study along with Sutapa Mukherjee, told IANS.

"About 35% were below 18 when they entered sex trade.

The number of child prostitutes is on the rise due to various socio-economic and cultural factors," he added.

The study, based on interviews of about 9,500 prostitutes in all states and union territories, has thrown up many other shocking facts.

"No state in India is free from prostitution and half the country falls in the high concentration zone," Mukherjee says.

"One fourth of the prostitutes are pushed into this trade by their own family members and 18.4% by people known to them."

The study shows that prostitution is shifting from red light areas and the number of brothels is coming down.

However the number of prostitutes is rising as they are operating under various covers.

The study terms them as "mobile prostitutes" as they keep on shifting from one place to another, Mukherjee said.

"About 60% of the prostitutes are from the Scheduled Castes and Tribes or other backward castes," he said. – IANS