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Sex workers demand promise of pension, school admissions 'without father's name' in election manifestos

Besides seeking monthly pension to sex workers over the age of 40 years, they also want the enactment of a special legislation to prohibit authorities from insisting on a child's father’s name and his credentials in the school admission process.
Last Updated : 13 April 2024, 15:21 IST
Last Updated : 13 April 2024, 15:21 IST

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Hyderabad: This poll season survivors of trafficking and victims of commercial sexual exploitation (women in prostitution) in Andhra Pradesh are seeking dignity and demanding the political parties take into consideration their issues and demands and include them in their respective manifestos.

Besides seeking monthly pension to sex workers over the age of 40 years, they also want the enactment of a special legislation to prohibit authorities from insisting on a child's father’s name and his credentials in the school admission process.

Otherwise they said they will opt for NOTA. In this context, VIMUKTHI, a state level forum of rescued survivors of trafficking and victims of commercial sexual exploitation released a charter of their demands on Saturday in Visakhapatnam and appealed to the political parties to pay enough attention and resolve their issues and challenges by including them in their respective election manifestos that are being released in the upcoming general elections in Andhra Pradesh.

“There are approximately 1.40 lakh women in prostitution in the state by 2022 as per the estimation of the central government and AP. Number of women entering in to prostitution is increasing every year in Andhra Pradesh," said VIMUKTHI president N Apurva.

"10-15 per cent of the women stepping in to it due to lack of alternative livelihood options, poor economic conditions of families, being cheated in the name of love, livelihood and employment opportunities. The average age of new entrants ranges from 18 to 40 years of age whereas 10 per cent of the women are coming out of this flesh trade because of their old age. Central and state governments utterly failed in providing rehabilitation and victims compensation to rescued survivors of trafficking and victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation (Women in Prostitution) so as to mainstream them into normal society,” she added.

Survivors of trafficking and women in prostitution along with their family members are demanding to be treated as “Equal Citizens” and ensure their inclusion into the social security framework of the country.

They are also demanding anti-Human Trafficking Unit’s (AHTUs) be strengthened and vested with the powers of registering FIRs, autonomously conduct inter and intrastate investigation, charge sheeting and follow up on prosecution to improve conviction rate in trafficking cases.

Other demands include ensuring proper implementation of laws to curb the crime of human trafficking, smooth process of victim compensation and community-based rehabilitation services provided through Village/Ward sachivalayams to ensure sex workers, trafficking victims and their families can access benefits from existing social welfare schemes and support services provided by the central and state governments.

Trafficking survivors and sex workers also need help to set up SHGs and build linkages with MEPMA and SERP, ensuring access to income generation programmes and the agency to carve out alternative livelihoods.

“It is needless to say that every citizen of the nation is entitled with a Right to live with dignity and respect under Article 21 of the constitution. But, this fundamental right became far beyond grounds for the women in prostitution and their children. As a result, they are being stigmatised and discriminated against by the society tagging to their work and are being expelled out of their Right to live with dignity and respect. Their children are facing discrimination in accessing public welfare services including school admissions, employment and in obtaining career opportunities in the service sector,” said VIMUKTHI secretary Pushpa.

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Published 13 April 2024, 15:21 IST

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