Thursday, Jun 12, 2003
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By Our Staff Reporter
The Toopran sub-division on the directions of the Medak SP, Shika Goel, had launched a survey some time ago to identify the sex workers belonging to the Dommara community living in Japtishivanur. With rising cases of HIV and trafficking of minor girls for flesh trade, the police decided to hold counselling sessions with the families in the village itself.
The first meeting was held on May 28, where the Toopran DSP, Ramchander, Samskar Plan Project Director, K.H.S.S.Sundar, attended and interacted with the families. A subsequent meeting on June 3 and the counselling session on Tuesday saw shortlisting of 12 minor girls, who would have been forced into prostitution if they had stayed in the settlement. Besides the 12 girls, five other boys were also selected to be admitted to the Samskar Ashram Vidyalaya run in Varni mandal headquarters by the NGO. Tuesday's meeting was attended by Samskar Secretary, Hemalata Lavanam, who had worked among the Jogini women of Nizamabad district and rehabilitated them, the Samskar Plan Project Director, the Toopran DSP, Toopran CI, Venkateswarulu, Ramayampet CI, Satyanarayana Rao and Chegunta SI, Surender Reddy.
The joint drive by the police and the NGO with the active support of the Medak District AIDS Control Society, was to prevent minor girls from taking to the flesh trade and also to bring down the rising cases of HIV among the sex workers of this particular settlement. More than 40 families are dependent on the flesh trade for their livelihood. Located on the NH-7, 3 km from Ramayampet town, the settlement was turning out to be a major source for the dreaded AIDS.
After the counselling of individual family members on Tuesday, the police and the NGO selected 12 girls and five boys in the age group of 6-12 years. This final screening would enable these children to get admission to the Samskar Ashram Vidyalaya. They would be provided free education and boarding till they complete their SSC. Special care and precaution has been taken to ensure that their identities are not revealed to the fellow students. Mr. Sundar urged the Government officials to recommend BC scholarships for the 17 students who are being admitted to the residential school at Varni. Mr. Sundar also said that efforts are on to work out possibilities of the youth in the settlement being provided with some livelihood programmes. Some youth would be sent for higher education so that they are away from the atmosphere where most of them become brothel keepers and pimps. The DSP said the Medak SP and the Nizamabad range DIG, Ish Kumar, are sympathetic towards the plight of the girls and directed the sub-division police to do everything possible efforts to wean them away from the flesh trade. He said the senior officials promised all steps to ensure help for the women and minor girls.
The women requested the district administration to take steps to allow them to cultivate the 13 acres of patta land. They complained that though they were in possession of the pattas, the forest department prevented them for taking up cultivation saying it was reserve forest.
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