Abuses against sex workers and
erosions of HIV prevention efforts resulting from anti-trafficking
is direct testimony from a Pondicherry-based NGO, SFDRT describing
exactly how anti-trafficking programmes are rolling out IN PRACTICE.
Whatever the theory of anti-trafficking, UNAIDS, ILO, UNDP, USAID and
others must see that in practice anti-trafficking initiatives are a
direct threat to sexual health programmes and to the human rights of sex
workers and migrants. – November, 2002.
It is indeed an
additional burden to work with HIV/AIDS preventive program with that of
trafficking issues but at the same time it is quite evident that those
of whom are working on STD/HIV/AIDS are the best to work on
anti-trafficking issues too. With an example sited below where in the
staff of SFDRT with four other NGOs were invited by the top officials of
the police dept. in Pondicherry for a topic on anti-trafficking and NGOs
SFDRT should support the police by passing on the information about the
secrets in the brothel.
The police should be supplied with the information of the cell numbers
of the pimps, brothel owners and others in the sex trade.
SFDRT at the time of rendering counselling, it should collect the
information with regard to the areas of availability of sex workers,
and also trade secrets which should be passed on to the police.
Police requires the presence of one representative from SFDRT, a
social worker at the time of raids conducted by the police.
A suggestion was put up by the NGOs that immediately after the raid
the parties arrested should be taken for medical examination as a
proof of their actual indulgence in sex. This will also reveal whether
or not the arrested people were harassed/beaten by the police.
Police solicited the full support from SFDRT to help the police dept.
to completely eradicate the sex trade in the Kan doctor Thottam.-
Requirement to o inform the nearest police station immediately on the
new arrivals of minor girls, strangers, women etc. in the brothel.
SFDRT should not only work in the field of HIV/AIDS but also assist
the police dept. in anti-trafficking.
Police dept. intends to form an ADVISORY BODY for
anti-trafficking in which they anticipate/requested SFDRT to
participate as a member.
One NGO suggested that arrests should be made only at the time of
indulging in sex and even then only sex workers are arrested now. But
the police should also arrest the client and should not leave him to
escape. This was agreed by the police. However, police narrated some
ratio of the cases arrested during the last few years from which it
was clear that majority of arrested were only women.
In nutshell, SFDRT
is required to act as an INFORMER TO POLICE.
It is high time
for action on the bifurcation of prostitution and anti trafficking
issues to avoid future violence against sex workers. It would be wiser
if NACO can also coordinate with the dept. of women and children who are
intensively into anti-trafficking issues to be clear with both
diversified objectives. According to our experiences it is fine as a
first step to stop minors and others who are not willing to be involved
in prostitution and that can happen only with sensitization and intimate
work with the brothel owners and brokers and nothing can happen by
FORCE. Yet another helpful program would be to help easy access to
sex workers who are unwilling to contact the working NGOs to render them
temporary care and support. The above clearly indicates a strong rescue
and rehabilitation work within a developed policy, monitored and
evaluated. We also need to specify importance of the various activities
for instance which of these would we render importance punishing the
traffickers or helping the victims in crisis? We welcome further
discussions and points of importance.
SFDRT - PONDICHERRY