Sex workers disapprove of affidavit filed before SC

The Board of All India Network of Sex Workers has taken exception to an affidavit filed by Ministry of Women and Child Development before Supreme Court stating sex workers are devoid of dignity.

"Sex workers expressed strong reaction about the affidavit filed by the Ministry of WCD before the Supreme Court that sex workers are devoid of dignity and that all sex workers should be rehabilitated by all means," AINSW said in a statement released here.

"These essentially absolve the right of an individual and prevent access to social justice," it said.

"Human dignity cannot be robbed by the state based on occupation, caste, creed or economics," Hazeera Bee, who hails from Surat, said.

"As a sex worker I cannot be told that I don't have dignity. We have been fighting for our right to livelihood with dignity and these kind of statements strengthen discriminatory approach and further marginalise us," she said.

The two-day meeting that concluded on August 10, passed a resolution that AINSW will pursue "due processes" that provide clarification on sex work and dignity.

Honour killings and treatment of Dalits in society were also discussed at the meet. 

AINSW secretary Bharathi Dey said "Today, we see honour killings taking place. Under the guise of honour being compromised families take extreme steps to kill young people just because they desire to get married against social norm."

"What a family and 'Khap' sees it as a honour/dignity compromise, this is opposed by all of us and by the government that such acts are considered acts of crime. Just because it is considered by families that it is honourable, is it admonished? So, who decides what dignity and honour is? Is it the individual or the family or society including the state?", she asked.

Speaking in the context of how Dalits have been treated in the past and even now, AINSW President Lakshmi said they have not been viewed by many as equal citizens with dignity but over time, the state has taken measures to improve their greater social position.

"So is dignity bestowed by someone or the society or is it something that is inherent to human life? It is 'human dignity' for each and every human being and sex workers cannot be an exception," she said. 

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