Meet calls for social inclusion of sex workers, transgenders

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 11, 2014 13:30 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) Policy makers, experts and civil society representatives met here Tuesday to discuss the social inclusion of sex workers and transgenders in three high-prevalence HIV states - Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

The meet was jointly hosted by the National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) and the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR).

The meet discussed the interim outcomes of a pilot project initiated in October 2012 to address the social exclusion of these communities by building supportive milieu, empowering them to battle vulnerabilities and strengthen their inclusion through convergence and coordinated response.

Poomgovi, a 36-year-old sex worker from Salem, Tamil Nadu, said: "Sex workers like me face social stigma and even fear accessing information meant for us."

"We get into the profession to ensure a bright future for our children. But neither do we have a future, nor job security. I need adequate income for decent living in the future," Poomgovi told IANS.

At the meet, Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed said the pilot project assumes great importance because women experience various vulnerabilities and cannot be treated as one and same.

"Therefore, schemes and programmes designed for women should be flexible so that women across social sections can avail of the benefits," Hameed said.

Arun Kumar Jain, secretary in the women and child development ministry, said there was an urgent need to bridge the gaps in the last mile delivery.

"Clear cut guidelines should be laid down on how schemes and programmes should be implemented at the grassroots level. Only this will ensure the inclusion of the most marginalised," he said.

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