The International AIDS Conference, a popular bi-annual event, will come to India for the first time in the form of a global hub being funded and set up with the International AIDS Conference.
Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee is hosting this event along with Global Network of Sex Workers Project and All-India Network of Sex Workers in Kolkata from July 21 to 27. The parallel event, which has attracted sex workers from 27 countries, will be digitally linked with the main conference sessions in the U.S. The 19th International AIDS Conference 2012 will be held in Washington from July 22 to 27.
The Indian hub is being organised for the first time to enable all sex workers who submitted abstracts to choose between attending the conference in Washington or participate in the parallel event in Kolkata to be a part of the event. The theme of the conference is “Sex Workers’ Freedom Festival”.
On the purpose of the initiative, DMSC secretary Bharati Dey said: “The idea is to ensure that all important issues relating to the lives of sex workers and others like intravenous drug users, men having sex with men, get discussed and debated threadbare.”
“We are holding this Global Hub and Sex Workers’ Freedom Festival in India because sex workers are not allowed entry into the U.S. to attend the main AIDS conference. This event will allow us to participate as well as give sex workers from around the globe a chance to still contribute to important discussions being held in Washington. Sex workers have an important role to play in community responses to HIV and we will make our voices heard loud and clear from Kolkata,” said Andrew Hunter of the Asian Network of Sex Workers.