VIMUKTHI – sex workers and survivors of human trafficking state forum welcomed the SC judgment

"Supreme court allowed the sex workers to live with dignity as equal citizens of the country" the statement of the Hon'ble Supreme Court is welcomed by VIMUKTHI which is a state level forum of sex workers and survivors of human trafficking.

They have shared experiences like they have been booked under the cases by police if they found with condoms treating it as a crime. Even without FIR after riding, the police used to detain the sex workers in police stations nearly 4- 5 days sometimes looking at them in criminal perspective. Then they produce them before the court saying that they have taken them in to custody just before day only and then sending them to shelter homes. Secondly, while they ride and take them into custody, police are grabbing their mobile phones, money and other belongings. In most of the cases police personnel are not giving back their phones and even not bringing to the notice of the courts. Moreover, some of the police personnel referring the victims to the lawyers before joining in shelter homes by giving their names and other details whom they are already in tie-up. There are many victims who lost up to Rs. 40,000 – 50,000 /- to the lawyers suggested by police in the name of bail though it is not a crime.

There are still nearly 20 rescued victims (sex workers) are staying in shelter homes like Swadhaar and Ujjawala homes in A.P and TS for months long. One of these victims says that, the person who is trafficker, broker or pimp who has entangled them in this profession is releasing within 7 – 10 days on bail whereas the adult women are under forced detention for months long nearly one month to one year in shelter homes. Now, they got relief from such malicious practices with these directions by the Supreme Court.

Another thing is VIMUKTHI against to that sex work is a *profession* because still it is involved with lots of abuse and exploitation in sex work. Further, no girl is entering in to this with sole intention of earning money. Most of them are deceived and are taking up this work as they found no alternative means of livelihood to survive in life and also due to social stigma. Here the reason is, lethargic attitude of the government which is utterly failed in creating alternative livelihoods to the rescued victims of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. Once the girl is trafficked and rescued, she shall be facilitated with victim compensation, rehabilitation and alternative livelihood support services in which the government is failed. As a result, she disheveled in debt trap by the private money lenders and entering and continuing in sex work to repay those loans with exorbitant interest rates. But they are not entering into sex work for their pleasure or for more money earning.

VIMUKTHI Demands to State Govt:

What VIMUKTHI is demanding is, to implement GO.MS. No. 1, 2003 issued by the Govt of A.P as per supreme court directions meant for alternative livelihoods, rehabilitation services and to facilitate victim compensation. So that, this issue will be resolved and many of them will be mainstreamed into society.

Further, there are district level committees as per GO.MS. No. 1 to review the status of implementation of the provisions of this GO Ms.No.1 which prevents the second generation to be trafficked. The children of sex workers to be joined and continuing in residential schools of the government under special quota to prevent second generation trafficking under the provisions of said GO.

The supreme court stated only that to honor their work of sex workers but not quoted this as a profession. The court statement shall be understood in a correct way and grasp its true sense by the law enforcement agencies. Police ridings should not be stopped and if police stay calm due to court’s statement to respect or honor sex work, the trafficked victims who have been forcedly entered in to prostitution for commercial sexual exploitation and abuse by the traffickers will not be identified and rescued by police from the brothel houses.

In this context, AHTUs (Anti Human Trafficking Units) to be immediately formed and strengthened in every district and its vigilance to be improved to stop the new entries. Finally, the real issue is, what about the aged sex workers who have been out? There should be a concern over them as they only taking chance to enter the new girls/young women in to this sex work.

P. Rajani – Vice President, B. Pushpa – Joint Secretary and A. Apoorva – Treasurer and M. Mounika – member have addressed the media at Vijayawada in the context of supreme court statements.

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