GUNTUR: The music was on and sounded irresistible. It was just enough for the women to get on their feet and swivel their bodies. And soon the others joined and some even threw flowers in applause. For a few minutes, it looked as though the women were celebrating their new found empowerment, after enduring years of stigma and discrimination.

The meeting organised by the Siri Mahila Sadhikaritha Welfare Society at Sri Rama Satram to mark the International Sex Workers Day provided an opportunity for the women to share their experiences about violation of their rights. Leaving behind the trauma and the pain behind them, most of them sounded positive of life in general. The advantages of being in a Community Based Organisation (CBO), which has shielded from police abuse, access to better medical care and nutrition and an awareness of their rights has been a silver lining in their lives.