Sex Workers

Mansi Thapliyal / Reuters

Why The Anti-Trafficking Vs. Sex Work Debate Is Doing Damage To Women's Rights

In India, the debate between sex workers and anti-trafficking campaigners is getting louder with the recent unveiling of the draft Anti Trafficking Bill (2016) by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. I first started working with understanding the issues of sex workers in 1996, and later went on to lead a national programme on the prevention of trafficking and HIV in India. Based on my observations, here are the two reasons why this head-on clash of rights is fundamentally flawed.
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Women Like Us: Why Sex Workers Deserve Our Respect

In a bitter resident association altercation in my building, the chairperson threw his last weapon at me, "You are a bloody whore." I was furious, and retorted, "Call your bloody wife a whore you pimp." Yet, later, I felt ashamed of using words like prostitute and whore with such nonchalance and ignorance. How was I different from the thieving chairperson when I behaved like him and abused his wife?
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A Fleeting Encounter: The Women Of Kamathipura

On a recent visit to Mumbai, my friend and I were sitting in one of the numerous sea-facing cafes that dot the coastline when somehow the conversation turned to Kamathipura - the city's notorious red light district. Sitting in that posh café, Kamathipura seemed distant and unreal. Yet, according to my friend, it was just a stone's throw away.