A three-year study on sex workers aged above 40, conducted by an academic of the Rani Chennamma University, has thrown light on issues they face.
The study, conducted by Gangadhar Sonar, Assistant Professor of Social Work at Rani Chennamma University’s PG centre at Bijapur, shows that sex workers urgently need a reliable social security net.
The study covered Bijapur, Bagalkot and Belgaum districts, which have a high prevalence of the Devadasi system and high levels of poverty and migration.For ten rupees
“I met hundreds of sex workers in the course of my study and found that their life was hellish,” Mr. Sonar said. Several people he met said that their situation was so abysmal that they were willing to offer their services for Rs. 10.
The study in the three districts found that 43 per cent sex workers were part of the Devadasi system, 20 per cent were widows and 15 per cent were women who were cheated in relationships and rejected by their families. It also found that 69 per cent of the sex workers belonged to the scheduled castes.
Mr. Sonar said that none of them saved any money, preferring to spend what they earned. Most suffered from various physical ailments, Mr. Sonar said.
The study recommended that the government take steps to rehabilitate this section of society which has been relegated to the margins of society.