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    Published On : Sat, Mar 8th, 2014
    Latest News | By Nagpur Today Nagpur News

    Lack of education, self-employment skills and poverty forces many women into the flesh trade

    Sex-WorkerNagpur News.

    In an exclusive interview with two commercial sex workers, Nagpur Today came to know the horrifying, dreadful, degrading and pitiable vicious circle that the flesh trade takes poor, innocent young women.

    While the entire world is talking about women empowerment, girl-child-education, women’s rights etc, a very vital and irremovable part of our society is omitted with no other option but to live in a degrading atmosphere and pitiable conditions which are not meant for human beings. We are referring about the “Commercial Sex Workers” often called with very vile and foul language, who experience hell on earth every day of their life.

    There are various NGOs and other allied organizations who are continuously working to make the life of these commercial sex workers bearable. However, this is not an easy task at all, since there are many factors not conducive to ensure prevention of smooth and bearable life for these women. Pimps for example always want them to be subjected to their whims and fancies and don’t want them to have a safety-net or a support system which will come to their rescue in time of need. This will ensure that they are continuously dependent on them for their livelihood. Lack of a proper family support, proper education or some art or skill which would have provided them with an alternate and decent means of livelihood, resulted them to continue in this trade. These commercial sex workers don’t have acceptance from the society hence they are forced to live in the way that they are. The attempts of various NGOs are exemplary yet there is a whole lot of work yet to be achieved.

    When asked how she came into this trade, Sheela (Name changed to protect her identity) said that she had no other option. she didn’t have any other source of livelihood. She said that she had only passed her IXth class and since she came from a poor family was married off at an early age (14-years-old). Her husband who was very violent and often had got into violent encounters with gangsters or goons. This caused him to land in jail. With her husband going to jail, neither her in-laws accepted her as their daughter-in-law, not could their own parents provide shelter and food to her. With nowhere to go and practically broke, she was sitting in the Nagpur Railway Station (Main). One Auto-rickshaw driver saw her and after finding out her state of affairs, asked her if she was willing to do a job, which he knew. He assured her that her food and stay will be taken care of at the place of work itself. The Auto-rickshaw driver then took her to a lady. Only after reaching the “place of work” did she realize where she was and what work did she have to perform. However, according to Sheela, and to her good fortune, nobody forced her to become a commercial sex worker. Since she was left with no other option, she voluntarily opted to get into the age-old profession. She has been there since the last 17 years and today, she has a son of 5 years too. She is proud of her son who is studying in KG-1. Her only motive to continue to live is the son. He is her sole responsibility and she wants to give him the best that she can. However, one saddening and dreadful fact came to fore. She is HIV positive and is taking ART medications regularly. She claimed that she goes regularly to the testing centers to get the blood tests done. When asked if she tells her customers that she is HIV positive, she said that we usually don’t tell our customers that we are HIV positive instead insist on use of contraceptives. They refuse condom-less intercourse even if the customers are willing to pay more.

    She gave credit to the Red-Cross Society for taking care of more than 50 per cent of commercial sex workers. It is only because of Red Cross Society that they are now able to get themselves tested and treated for HIV.

    Nagpur Today spoke to another commercial sex worker called Jyothi (Name changed to protect her identity), who also said that she too chose this flesh trade for her livelihood because she too was not educated and lacked self-employment skills. She too got married at the age of 14.5 and within a year of her marriage her husband died. She was left with no other option and no one to support her and provide food clothing and shelter. She claimed that nobody brought her to this place or forced her into the flesh trade. She herself chose this most viable and only means of livelihood available at that time. Since, she was left with no other options but to enter into the flesh trade to fulfill her needs. She said when she entered this trade she was already a mother of a 6-month-old baby. She had the responsibility of the baby and therefore she decided to do undertake the age old profession even if this was degrading and pitiable. Jyothi told Nagpur Today that she is 31-years old and her son is now 14-years-old and with the help of an NGO, who are working to educate the children of sex workers, her child is getting a decent education. Her child is her only hope and she wants to live only for him. She said that once, he is able to stand on his own legs and earn a decent living that she can even think of leaving this place.

     

    By Puja Singh


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