Highway Prostitution

By Nilabh Kumar → Monday, 23 January 2017
Truckers spend most of the times away from their homes, delivering goods and services across borders. It will be very harmful for their income and livelihood if they take leave and sit at home for very long. Having spending too much time in highways and sometimes witnessing too much stress sometimes, it is basic human nature to be frustrated.
Driving is a profession which requires a lot of attention to the roads, especially in Indian conditions. Staying stressed for very long period of time will affect the concentration and hence performance of the trucker. Mishap might happen in the roads.
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Arguably, sex is one of the basic human necessity. Residing away from home for a very long period of time, truckers might get biologically and physically uncomfortable.
Here is when highway prostitution and flesh trade comes into the play. Considered as world’s oldest tradition, highway prostitution in India is one of the dark side of this flourishing sector. It is not the question of morality, but the necessity and basic human nature. One can argue whole day long that how this is bad for the society and will impact badly to our coming generation. But the fact remains that neither of them has seen the actual condition of the ground.

Often truckers hire prostitutes standing near the highway for the same purpose. According to certain reports, the roots of this business is very deep. Some comes by choice and some forced to the business, but still carrying on without any choice. Choice is the luxury they do not have. Legally speaking, prostitution is not illegal in India, according to law. When two adults, with their consent, agrees for physical relationship, and one party charges other for the service, law does not and cannot forbid them. However, handling such business and obtaining prostitutes for other persons, and charging certain percentage of the money is illegal, and severely punishable offence in India.

Some truckers are known to touch the burning side of the cigarette in their legs, just to maintain concentration and trying not to get frustrated. These are little psychological tricks that is played by the truckers to divert their mind. These little tricks adversely affect their physical condition and might prove lethal in the longer run. This is the ground reality; medical supervision is next to negligible for the truckers.


On a sting operation conducted by NDTV, they found that on the 100 km stretch from Mandsaur to Chittorgarh, the crew spotted at least 700 girls soliciting customers. Girls who should have ideally been in school or college. They spend their day luring customers who are mainly truck drivers.
It was in the context that in Madhya Pradesh, there are certain tribes who forces the females in their family into this business as this is a part of their tradition. No question asked. This blasphemy is going on among these tribes for generations. The females of these tribes, when interviewed, said they do not even know why they follow this, it is just how it is. They cannot even think of their lives outside this shady and horrific world. They do their ‘businesses near the highways and most of their client are truckers and lorry drivers, travelling very long distance.
Police presence is there, but it seems that at situations like this, police seems to ‘respect’ the tradition way too much. No doubt that by some involvement of police, the situation of some family has got better, but there is still much to do. Development in this area, if not done soon, the market will grow even further and then the evil will be very tough to catch.
There are several questions raised but they seem paradoxical and solution can be found nowhere.
·         Is this, morally right?
·         What about the family of married truckers hiring service?
·         What about individual worker, whose only source of income is this?
·         What about psychological conditions of the truckers?
·         What about the girls trapped badly, but do really wants to get out of this?
The government can and should do something concrete in this direction. Whatever reasoning and logic given by the so-called ideologists, this evil needs to be curbed by the neck and should be thrown away.

It has often been seen that government do launch schemes for the betterment of these people, but till date they all failed. Main reason behind this might be lack of information, lack of perception or simply unwillingness of leaving already settled business due to insecurity.

The government need to do proper analysis of how a particular sect of people can be convinced to make the decision that could change their entire coming generation. Counselling by the experts, proper advertisement, involving NGOs, providing good alternative, engaging with self-help groups, may produce some fruitful results.
Some counselling may be good for the truckers also. Truckers involved in transportation services in long routes, no doubt faces several challenges, and that might result in mental breakdown. Counselling by the professionals may keep their focus in track.
Highway prostitution is a black spot in the face of society. It is nothing but the hypocrisy of society gone wrong.
In no way, the business done is to be motivated to grow. It is the moral responsibility of the trucker also, to overlook these discrepancies, and whenever possible, try to alert the authority which can save lives of innocent women. A little help, might anyone to save their entire coming generations. 



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