Report on sex workers kept in cold storage

The State government’s lackadaisical approach on a recent report on sex workers, submitted by a State-level committee constituted under the chairmanship of Jayamala in February, has left sex workers disheartened, particularly those who had hoped to give up that life after interacting with the committee.

“When the committee called us, I and many women forced into this profession told the members that we would give this up this if we got alternative jobs,” said a woman in Hassan. “All we expected was that the government would take the committee’s recommendations seriously and work out a policy to rehabilitate us.”

According to the committee’s report, more than 72% of sex workers in the State were ready to give up their current job if provided an alternative. The committee collected data from a little over one lakh sex workers. It then recommended programmes to rehabilitate them, at an estimated cost of ₹733 crore.

Rupa Hassan, who was a member of the committee, said the government should have at least taken measures to safeguard minor girls forced into flesh trade. “The committee found that over 8,000 women with HIV and 1,800 physically challenged people were in this profession for various reasons. The government did not take any step to rehabilitate them,” she said.

She rued the fact that the Department of Women and Child Development has even brought down the number of beneficiaries of the Chethana scheme, which is meant for rehabilitation of sex workers. Last year, the number of beneficiaries was 975, while this year it is down to 325.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 3:06:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/report-on-sex-workers-kept-in-cold-storage/article20945670.ece

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