Sex workers seek considerate treatment by police

A survey of sex workers in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Pune has revealed that among 1,000 voluntary sex workers, 62% of women were married and chose sex work as a form of livelihood

Sex workers attached to Vadamalar-- a federation of voluntary sex workers in Tamil Nadu and South India Aids Action Programme (SIAAP) on Wednesday, released a report of a survey in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Pune, on Wednesday, listing their challenges and needs.

Discussing the report with media persons, Janani Venkatesh, project officer, SIAAP, said the study, conducted among 1,000 voluntary sex workers, showed that 62% of women were married and chose sex work as a form of livelihood. “These sex workers are not asking for legalisation and recognition, they only want sex work to be decriminalised, which implies they do not want to be housed in remand homes or imprisoned for doing sex work,” she said.

The survey showed that 50% of workers face some form of violence while only 2% had taken legal action. Of those who faced violence, 63% feared the consequences of taking legal action.

Healthcare and access was also studied as part of the survey -- 75% of sex workers did not seek treatment because of poor communication by healthcare providers, and, of those who did seek care, 40% were refused. A majority of sex workers said they were in need of sexual and reproductive healthcare services.

SIAAP organised a meeting involving nearly 120 police personnel including members of the Anti-trafficking unit and the Deputy Inspector General of Police on Tuesday. A set of demands were put forth. Complaints of violence or rape filed by sex workers must be recorded, police officers should not arrest people who engage in sex work voluntarily, police should not reveal identities of sex workers, possession of condoms should not be a cause for arresting a sex worker, and police should desist from seizing assets or properties of sex workers without due process, the SIAAP emphasised.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 3:08:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/sex-workers-seek-considerate-treatment-by-police/article30624195.ece

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