Kolkata sex workers demand legalisation of their profession

Last Updated: Sat, Mar 03, 2012 12:20 hrs

Sex workers in Kolkata took out a rally on Saturday to press their demand for the legalisation of their profession and registration of their names under labour laws.

The rally was organised under the aegis of a self-help group, dedicated to the cause of the sex workers. Around 500 sex workers walked down the city streets to press for their demands.

"Our demand is that we want the legalization of our profession and we want proper rights for our 5000 labourers and proper compensation as well. The way the government records the names of the labourers in its record books, similarly we want our names to be registered with the government," said Maya Sharma, a sex worker.

They said that their profession is just like any other profession and hence they should not be looked down upon.

The sex workers had earlier gone on an indefinite hunger strike as they protested against the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA).

Sex workers allege that ITPA criminalises most aspects of sex work by equating voluntary adult sex work with trafficking.

They also fear that, all that they have achieved, like use of condom - awareness about the deadly disease Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) - education for sex workers' children, through long movement would go down the drain.

Although prostitution is still illegal in India, it is a thriving underground industry.

Sex workers are a marginalized lot in India and have very few rights as both their customers and the police exploit them.

High levels of violence in the sex industry, the presence of child sex workers, lack of access to health care, and high levels of HIV infection are some of the key issues affecting the sex workers in India. (ANI)

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