and dignity for all

Discussion in 'Religion & Culture' started by Ray, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Apr 17, 2009
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    Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees the right to live with dignity, includes a prostitute’s right to lead a life of dignity as well.

    The Supreme Court set up a five-member panel to work towards providing sex workers with alternative means of livelihood. It was supposed to come up with a list of impoverished sex workers who wished to be rehabilitated as the apex court did not wish to coerce them into changing their profession.

    But though the Supreme Court’s initiative is a noble one, many feel that it may finally come to nought as attempts to rehabilitate prostitutes through vocational training have failed in most cases. As Mumbai-based lawyer and human rights activist Flavia Agnes points out, “It has been amply proved that vocational training has not solved the issue of sex work or trafficking. In fact, in many cases, women get into prostitution after trying out other options like domestic work as sex work is more remunerative. Would any of us work at a job which pays one tenth of our current earnings? Then how can we expect a sex worker to be happy with this choice,”

    Agnes gives the example of girls who danced in the bars of Mumbai. Many of them had found a means of earning a livelihood that was more paying than sex work. “This was a viable alternative that women had found for themselves. But even this was banned on moral grounds whereas what was needed was to make these places more safe for women.”

    However, human rights lawyer Tapas Kumar Bhanja points out that the apex court judgment does take into account the need for giving sex workers a financially viable alternative livelihood. “It says governments should make arrangements to provide a market for the trade in which the women are trained. So the panel’s work will not be over with merely training the woman. It has to ensure that she earns enough to support herself and her family.”

    And there are instances where this approach has worked, he says. A recent survey revealed that prostitutes placed in MacDonalds, Dominos, food courts, etc. by Mumbai-based NGO Prerana have not returned to the flesh trade. “Some of them are in touch with Prerana and are doing well,”

    What do you feel about the possibility of given the sex worker a new life and what should be done?

    And what about those suffering from AIDS and HIV? How are they to be rehabilitated with a remunerative profession?

    I have read of a story of an impoverished girl prostitute, who was rescued and returned to her family. Having got used to the high life of Delhi, she soon went back to her earlier profession and was even contemptuous of the squalor and poverty of her parents!
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012

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