Friday, December 19, 2008

HIV, Sex Workers and Human Rights


Program and Mechanics of the workshop

Anup Hore shared as to how he and his friends were engaged with sex workers in 1995 in Mumbai, when the harrassment by police was taking place. They had got sympathetic to few sex workers and had gheraod the Madhuadih police station. Anup is not able to guess as to what inspired them? Was it for ‘taking favour’? They were all youngsters and their energetic spirits motivated them. Now VAMP is working over there and his memories came fresh when he met Meena Seshu in a recent meeting.

Sandip shared that Ranchi has sex workers but they are not identifiable, as there are no red light areas or brothels. It was in 2003 when the first targeted intervention (TI) by JSACS (AIDS Control Society) was being planned that they got involved in working on the issue. The team used to hang around Firayalal Chowk 9 to 5. It was extremely nonsensical. Just looking at each woman and trying to wonder whether she is of ‘that type’. It seemed very foolish at times. ‘Were we just doing this to fulfill project requirements?’ Friends used to tease us.

And when interacting with the sex workers they were always cautious about their own senses and desires, controlling them. The issues of confidentiality were there, how to protect the rights of the sex workers and still fulfill the objective of the project on HIV, not being harassed by the police.

The strategy to tell them that there are better options of work available doesn’t works. They have gone through all stages of work be fore getting into this work. We feel that it is an ‘easy way of earning’ for them, but for them it can a different version of story, they have ‘undergone whole journey’ through it.

Sony, still pursuing her postgraduate studies expressed that normally HIV as an issue is taken up, not prostitution. People are not ready to talk of these issues in public.

Some come out openly for ‘moral policing’, but it is to be realized that this is one of the oldest profession. There are questions before us. Will banning prostitution, reform the sexual behaviour of people at large. This might come up in different form. ‘Sexual desires need fulfillment in some manner’. The best that can be done is the process of empowerment, to empower to negotiate for rights.

Sandip said that once a sex worker said had they not been selling sex the girls of middle class would be sexually assaulted / raped on the streets. Thus they help in keeping the sexual energies balanced (who so ever wants can be helped in satisfying the sexual desires).

Anup shared as to how the adolescent education module for the high school and intermediate students is being prevented to being introduced in the schools. Sandip shared his work as Red Ribbon Alliance partner, where they are forming committees in schools and colleges. Ajay shared his HIV work amongst the municipal areas of Ranchi.

Invite Letter
Program and Mechanics of the workshop

Program and Mechanics of the workshop

Program and Mechanics of the workshop Event Be Positive -Film Screening and Discussions on HIV (A Human Rights Perspective)

Venue – Human Potential Development Centre (HPDC), Bahu Bazar, Ranchi

Date – 6th December 2008

Time – 1.30 pm to 6.00 pm

This is part of Open Space Initiative to reach out to CSOs and youth of urban areas. We are going to screen the same in 20 more spots, and are looking for collaborations that could help us reach out to more audience. Please come for the event and if the issue sounds interesting to you, please help us in organising more screenings.

For any queries for confirmations please feel free to contact me at 9430367949 or email at In the evening join us for a discussion over tea.

1 comment:

  1. Sandip Kumar MitraJanuary 4, 2009 at 9:59 PM

    Prostitution and HIV/AIDS, while dealing with the issues the functionaries at government and non government agencies always kept marginalise the basic human right that is right to live. Prostitutes considered as the main reason for the spread of the epidemic. But this is not absolutely true. They are always exploited by their clients and local administration. They haven't any such mechnism or platform where they could put their concerns as the society does not permit them to mix up with the general population. due to this they are severely exlpoited and in the course became the most vulnerable to HIV infection as they have no choice to resist. Thus the need of time is to aware and educate the people involved in prostitution about their rights, implications of unsafe sexual behaviours; networking among the prostitutes; vocational training to those who want to come out from this profession.