The Supreme Court has directed that police should neither interfere nor  take criminal action against adult and consenting sex workers.

In a significant order recognising sex work as a “profession” whose  practitioners are entitled to dignity and equal protection under law

“It need not be gainsaid that notwithstanding the profession, every  individual in this country has a right to a dignified life under Article  21 of the Constitution,” the court observed.

“Sex workers are entitled to equal protection of the law. Criminal law  must apply equally in all cases, on the basis of ‘age’ and ‘consent’.

The Bench ordered that sex workers should not be “arrested or penalised  or harassed or victimised” whenever there is a raid on any brothel,  “since voluntary sex work is not illegal .

A child of a sex worker should not be separated from the mother merely  on the ground that she is in the sex trade, the court held.

. “Basic protection of human decency and dignity extends to sex workers and their children,” the court noted.