COVID Rehabilitation schemes to be implemented to the sex workers who are recognised as informal labour

Vijayawada 28: Smt. Meharunnisa, VIMUKTI State President stated that, they made a resolution requesting the State Human Rights Commission to take actions and monitor the progress in implementation of the guidelines issued by the National Human Rights Commission during this May 2021 to all the state governments to recognise the sex workers as informal labour who have lost their livelihoods and income sources in the wake of COVID pandemic outbreak and implement various welfare schemes and COVID rehabilitation activities making sex workers as part of it.
A one-day state level meeting has been convened by VIMUKTI which is a State Level Forum of Sex workers and rescued survivors of trafficking on “Informal labour – Sex Workers and their Rights” at local press club on Tuesday Nearly 50 sex workers have been participated from across the state of Andhra Pradesh in this meeting.
In a press meet held on this occasion, Smt. Meharunnisa, VIMUKTI state president expressed that “we would like to extend our cordial thanks to the National Human Rights Commission. Because, it is never before of its kind in 75 years of independent India that a national level government agency (National Human Rights Commission) has recognised “Sex Workers” as informal labour and has issued directions on 5th Oct 2020 to all the state governments accordingly. As a result, sex workers are enabled to access and urge for all those benefits by the state that are being availed by different forms of labour. VIMUKTI will never asks for legalisation of prostitution moreover it is against to it, but VIMUKTI demands the government to recognise the brothel owners, managers, traffickers, pimps and mediators as criminals but not the sex workers”.
“Being the survivors of trafficking and after our rescue, as we have not been accessed with any support services, victim compensation and on the other end we are not in a position to repay the family debts/loans besides the stigma and discrimination against us in the society we are continuing in prostitution in such helpless vulnerable circumstances” agonised Smt. Pushpavathi, Secretary of VIMUKTI. She added, sex work is not a dignified profession and it consists of violence. But, most of the sex workers are not able to come out of this to survive their families and children.
Only 200 sex workers have been availed with ration for two months out of 1.5 lakh sex workers in the state in accordance with the directions issued by the National Human Rights Commission on 5th Oct 2020. They have lamented that, the direct cash support by central and state governments to many sects of the people has not been accessed by sex workers as on date.
Sex workers often migrate to other places to earn more money and also to maintain secrecy from their families and relatives. COVID pandemic insisted them to stay back longer than ever in other districts and towns. This made them helpless to access ration and other provisions as they don’t have ration cards or other credentials that proves them as local residents. So, once they become empty handed from their savings, they tend to take loans from the private money lenders for high interest rates. In this circumstances, VIMUKTI executive committee members have complained that, the State AIDS Control Society has utterly failed in supporting the sex workers even after the directions by the NHRC in Oct 2020 instructing the National AIDS Control Organisation and State AIDS Control Society to make sure that the sex workers should avail all the support services that the state is providing to other needy people in the state.
VIMUKTI stated that, since the State Human Rights Commission newly established its office in the state, they are submitting a representation requesting to look after their following demands:
1. The District Legal Services Authority in coordination with District Collector to conduct review meetings and ensure implementation of the directions issued by National Human Rights Commission in May 2021 and also to submit monthly status reports to both NHRC and SHRC.
2. It is to review the progress in monthly planning and review meetings under the aegis of Chief Secretary to the Government on status of the directions issued by NHRC and its accessibility by sex workers and issue timely instructions to concerned authorities.
3. As per the directions of the NHRC, the alternative livelihoods and other support services to be provided through SERP, MEPMA and DRDA to sex workers who have been recognised as informal labours by making them as saving groups.
4. 100% social security to be ensured to the children of sex workers and protect them from not being enter in to this profession.
In this meeting, Smt. Rajani – State Executive Committee vice-president, Smt. Apoorva – Joint Secretary, executing body members Smt. Bhanupriya, Jyothi, Sravani, Nagalakshmi and others have participated.