Over 12,000 sex workers in Odisha, says govt.

December 12, 2015 12:00 am | Updated March 24, 2016 03:11 pm IST - BHUBANESWAR:

Southern district of Rayagada has more number of female sex workers (FSW) than any other districts in Odisha, where a total 12,031 FSWs have been identified, Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, Health and Family Welfare department, informed the State Assembly here on Friday. Furnishing a written reply to a query on population of sex workers in Odisha and distribution of condoms to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, Mr. Nayak said Rayagada has total 1,207 FSWs – only district in the State to have more than 1,000 female sex workers.

Rayagada is followed by Sundargarh with 934 and Bolangir with 856 FSWs. The FSW population figure provided by the government contradicts the general perception. Khurda district, under which jurisdiction capital Bhubaneswar lies, was widely perceived to have more sex workers than any other districts. However, the district has 525 FSWs while backward district like Nabarangpur has 655 female sex workers.

Similarly, Cuttack district, where the spread of urbanisation is greater, has 260 FSWs. Another backward district like Nuapada has 539 FSWs. Subarnapur has 56 FSWs -- lowest FSW population in the State. Dhenkanal has only 78 FSWs.

On the other hand, Odisha has total 4,230 male sex workers (MSWs). Angul has highest 789 MSWs followed by Kalahandi having 585 MSWs.

A senior researcher associated with a leading NGO says the Odisha government’s reports on sex workers seemed to be incomplete. “The population of sex workers is found to be less in urban areas in comparison to many backward and less-urbanised districts. It is believed that bigger urban centres have more red light areas and organised sex trade than that of semi-urban and villages,” he said.

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