Supreme Court Drops ‘Sex Worker’ From Its Handbook; Know The Replacement Term

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has amended its handbook on gender stereotypes by substituting the term ‘sex worker’ with more inclusive language.

The new term is ‘trafficked survivor’, which includes trafficked survivor, woman engaged in commercial sexual activity and woman forced into commercial sexual exploitation.

The top court’s decision was taken after a group of anti-trafficking NGOs had written wrote to Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud that using the term ‘sex worker’ for words like ‘hooker and prostitute’ could end up promoting another set of gender stereotypes.

The NGOs — ARZ (Anyay Rahit Zindagi) from Goa, Prayas from Mumbai, Prerana from Maharashtra, KIDS from Karnataka, Nedan from Assam, VIPLA from Maharashtra, SPID from Delhi, New Life Foundation from Manipur among others — under the banner of Anti-Human Trafficking Forum had requested Justice Chandrachud to reconsider use of ‘sex worker’ in the glossary of terms mentioned in the ‘Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes’, published by the court in August 2023.

Anurag Bhaskar, deputy registrar, CRP, Supreme Court of India, informed ARZ through an email that the CJI has accepted the change.

“Based on your suggestion, the nomenclature/word ‘sex worker’ is being changed to the following: ‘Trafficked victim/survivor or woman engaged in commercial sexual activity or woman forced into commercial sexual exploitation’,” the deputy registrar said, adding that the change will be added soon to the handbook.

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