We too are women –show no bias on us – sex workers suffered

The state government working hard for the women empowerment is totally neglected the welfare, rehabilitation and in facilitating alternative livelihoods to the sex workers and survivors of human trafficking moreover they are not being treated at least as women in the society” stated Smt. Meharunnisa, President – VIMUKTI – A state level forum for sex workers and survivors of human trafficking.

VIMUKTI and HELP have convened a meeting with sex workers and survivors of trafficking on Monday at GNR Function Hall, Rajiv nagar, VIJAYAWADA on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

Smt. Meharunnisa who presided over the meeting has stated that, there were 1669 women have been rescued under sections of IPC and 550 have been rescued under ITPA since 2016 to 2020 in the state of Andhra Pradesh. But, the state government has utterly failed in facilitating rehabilitation services, alternative livelihoods and victim compensation that are prescribed under various Acts and GOs to at least 10% of the victims so far.

Smt. Rajani – vice president of VIMUKTI said that the sex workers and survivors of human trafficking are facing rigorous challenges and difficulties due to stigma and discrimination over them in the society. She agonised that, until or unless these women are being treated as victims, the society will look at them as criminals only.

Smt. Pushpa complained that, “its not me and many of the women like me in our ward have been biased from the benefits under welfare schemes. I have been avoided from the social/community activities in my vicinity. Also, my children also been discriminated by the other children from playing and chitchatting. We will overcome these challenges of stigma and discrimination, if we get supported with the rehabilitation and alternative livelihoods by the state”.

VIMUKTHI members have unanimously submitted the following demands to the government:

  • A special programme has to be formulated and implemented by the state exclusively for facilitating alternative livelihoods to the sex workers and survivors of trafficking.
  • Measures to be taken by the state to enable the sex workers and survivors of trafficking to access the benefits through village/ward secretariats under various welfare schemes, policies and legislations by a single window system for their protection, welfare, compensation and development.
  • The survivors of trafficking shall not be kept under years long detention in shelter homes like criminals. Instead, they shall be well re-integrated in the society through an effective system of community-based rehabilitation.
  • The National Human Rights commission has issued directions to all the states and UTs to consider sex workers as informal labour in the context of COVID 19 and instructed to facilitate the same types of relief, support services and also benefits under various welfare schemes to them. The government shall take necessary actions with immediate effect to implement the directions of NHRC in this regard.
  • The state government shall ensure the participation of Sex workers and survivors of trafficking in its committees constituted to review, monitor and implementation of various welfare schemes and support services.

Smt. Apoorva – Treasurer of VIMUKTHI, Nagalakshmi, Smt Mounika, Mr. Bhaskar and Nithin from HELP and also 40 VIMUKTHI members have been participated in this meeting.

About HELP:

HELP is a voluntary organisation mentoring VIMUKTHI (A State level forum of sex workers and survivors of trafficking) in its mission for socio-economic empowerment of sex workers and survivors of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. HELP is working over two decades for the prevention of human trafficking and also protection and welfare of women and children in vulnerable conditions in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

For any clarifications please contact – Mr. Nimmaraju Ram Mohan @ 99497 23666 Mr Bhaskar – Programme Manager – HELP @ 9949688014