Staff Reporter

VIJAYAWADA: “We are also human beings; don’t ostracise us,” was the appeal made by sex workers to society, at a meeting held recently. They conveyed this message when they assembled here under the aegis of Vimukti, a forum of victims of illegal trafficking and sex trade.

Pouring out their woes and horrifying experiences on the sidelines of the executive meet of Vimukti, they said: “Even the police, who are supposed to come to our rescue in the event of illegal trafficking try to take advantage of the situation.”

The police exploit the victims in all possible ways, harass them mentally and sexually, they charged. Anita (names of all victims changed) said: “The police some times force us to push our children too into this business. It’s hard to believe, but it is a fact.”

The victims said it was not a “profession of our choice,” but they were all pushed forcibly. “While some of us were deceived in the garb of love, some were tricked with the false promise of giving a chance to act in films. It is neither a lucrative profession nor respectable one. My husband used to suspect my fidelity and torment me at every occasion. Unable to bear the torture, I walked out of the house. Thereafter, I was betrayed by many people, and ended up here,” said Jagriti, another participant.

None of the victims wished that their children should take to prostitution as a profession of inheritance. A doctor could wish his or her child to become doctor, while an engineer too could have a wish list. But, a sex worker “is not supposed to have, rather forced not to have, aspirations and dreams for her children.” “My son is studying B. Tech Chemical Engineering and my daughter too is studying. But, many people poisoned their minds with their comments,” said T. Sujatha, convener of Vimukti. “What should I do now? Should I end my life?” she asked, with tears rolling down her cheeks.

At the end of the day, a sex worker would neither have a house of her own nor a loved one to take care of her. There were many instances of sex workers dying in hapless conditions at bus stand or railway station.