A jatha and a convention were held here on Wednesday for female sex workers, to educate them on atrocities against women and to make them aware of their rights.

The district-level programme, under the ‘Samvedana’ project of the Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT), was organised jointly by Soukya Belaku, an organisation working for the welfare of female sex workers; the district Legal Services Authority, and the Bellary Bar Association.

Speaking after inaugurating the convention, D. Vishweshwar Bhat, Principal District and Sessions Judge, promised full cooperation through the district Legal Services Authority to female sex workers to fight atrocities against them and also in getting social benefits. He underlined the need for them come forward to receive the benefits of welfare schemes.

C.K. Baba, Additional Superintendent of Police, who was the chief guest, said that the laws were in place to protect women from all kinds of atrocities. He exhorted female sex workers to approach the Durga helpline in case of any difficulty or harassment. M.H. Shanta, Principal Chief Judicial Magistrate and secretary of the district Legal Services Authority, flagged off the jatha in the morning, and said that female sex workers could avail free legal services whenever needed.

Soukya Belaku president Priya also spoke. Around 250 women from different parts of the district attended the convention.