RighT Guide training in India:

From 4-6 June 2015 Marjan Wijers and Lin Chew gave a RighT Guide training in Panhala, India. The training was jointly organised and conducted by the Centre for Advocacy on Stigma and Marginalisation (CASAM) of the Sampada Grameen Mahila Sanstha (SANGRAM), Sangli Maharashtra and Rights for Change (R4C), and supported by the Oak Foundation and the South Asia Women’s Fund (SAWF). The training consisted of around 20 participants (whose ages ranged between 22 and 50 years and some) from various non-profit, non-governmental organizations across India which work with sex workers of different socio-cultural identities. The participants included female sex workers, men whose mothers have been sex workers and a few social workers whose primary responsibility was to interpret the discussions in the language spoken by the sex workers and vice versa. Participants came from two states, Maharashtra (Karad, Miraj, Nippani and Sangli), Jharkhand (Ranchi and Dhanbad).

As part of the training the participants made the causes and effects of the anti-trafficking law (Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act) visible in a ‘problem tree’ (see pictures). One of the core problems participants mentioned was the lack of protection against abuse. In fact the police is an important source of violence against sex workers. As stated by participants: “the police harasses, threatens or shoos us. They demand money and if we refuse, they jail us. They terrorize us and arrest or beat us without reason” and “We can handle an abusive partner with our support networks but not the police”. All human rights are equally important for sex workers, but key rights are the right to security, dignity and respect. As worded by participants “the right to be treated as a human being”.

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