By Sunny Kulathakal
This is not an attempt to either criticize or shed tears for the women who have fallen into immoral tracks. Here, attention of the readers is being invited to the historical background of prostitution which is one of the oldest professions in the world, its basic reasons and some of the social problems created by prostitution. Who are prostitutes? How do they live? How the society views them? A Humble attempt has also been made in this book to find answers to these questions. My aim is not to achieve the satisfaction of conducting an in-depth study on the subject.
The existing trend is to treat prostitutes who are portrayed as safety valves of social life as social outcasts and criminals by labeling them as “sex vendors” and “distributors of contagious venereal diseases”. It could not be denied that the society has a role in creating the conditions conducive for many to fall in the trap of prostitution. The stories of some of them who had to succumb to prostitution due to broken human relationships, molested womanhood, life of starvation and poverty, the shock and insecurity following the death of those who were the pillars and shade of the family, the destiny to follow the traditional profession and the social and economic circumstances are described here in brief. What needed is to bring a change to the situation wherein the women who had once fallen into the pit of prostitution destined to continue to reel under the agony of it till the end of life. Along with the measures for the rehabilitation of such women, attention should also be given to the principle that “prevention is better than cure” It is also important to see that the crusade against prostitution should not turn into a war against the prostitutes.
Generous help and co operation of several individuals have been received for bringing out this book. The invaluable suggestions and encouragement from personalities like Dr S D Punnekkar of the Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai, Dr Panakkal, M T Vasudevan Nair, E M J Venniyoor and T. Chandy provided me necessary guidelines. The suggestions and co operation of several people including social workers, police officials and doctors proved to be of immense help in bringing out this book.
This attempt which began in 1973 had taken me only to the tip of this serious social issue. I would like to record my gratitude for my dear wife Lissy who not only pushed and encouraged me to complete the work but also co operated by accompanying me in the red streets of Mumbai for studying the life of the fallen women.
I have no words to express my gratitude towards D C Kizhkemuri of D C books for his assurance in the very beginning to undertake publication of this book. My heartfelt gratitude also goes to Joseph Puthenthara who prepared a forward for the book and D C Books which has done the printing so beautifully.
Translation: Saj Mathews