This is the fourth month for Indians living with this pandemic. Many have lost their lives and livelihood. We live in a society where we all are designated according to our professions but we are hesitant to talk about sex workers. The constitution mentions the rights for commercial sex workers(CSW), but are they getting all those rights? Especially if we consider the problems they are facing are not even cared for by any government, be it the central or state or even the opposition.
In recent times, we all saw the 200 crore budget released by the central government, but there is no mention of the CSW? Well, the women or men or trans-genders do not even have proper documents for ration cards or Aadhar cards. It is not because they don’t want, but they do not get equal respect to be eligible for government aids. Whose fault is it?
The government is not always the accuse of all the awful acts in society, but measuredly it is the society. The CSW earn on daily wages, which indicates that they also contribute towards the GDP of the nation. Even the growing number in the CSW shows that people are getting more and more involved in this not just because of their will but also because they are forced. Do you all know that according to government statistics, there are over two million sex workers in the country? However, only a fraction of them is into prostitution by choice. It indeed paints a sombre picture for the rest.
Let’s go back before the pandemic situation and let’s have a look at the census for CSW customers. Approximately 1 in 100 ( 0.9%) Indian men reported past-year CSW contact; over half of such men reported inconsistent condom use with CSWs. CSW contact was most common among men ages 15-24 (3.6%) and never-married men (9.9%). The generation which considered to be the regular customers is 15-24 years.
Today after four months of lockdown, these CSW are starving since all their savings are over. They are unable to feed their children, and they don’t know if the situation will ever get normal for them. As social distancing is easy to follow by all of us in all professions, but in their life, it is impossible. They get money from three to four clients a day which is spent on essential utilities and it is hard for them to save money.
Today, we don’t have many solutions, but can we leave them to die? We should be their voice through journalism to the government and help them. Also, this is the ideal time to help all those forced workers to get out of all of it.