12/02/2016 11:09 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

Kolkata Sex Workers To Debut In TV Soaps And Films

Barcroft Media via Getty Images
***EXCLUSIVE*** KOLKATA, INDIA - JUNE 18: Pinki, daughter of a sex worker practices dance steps at the Sonagachi brothel on June 18, 2015 in Kolkata, India. INDIAN sex workers take a break from their work in Asias largest red light district. The seedy world of Sonagachi in Kolkata is swamped with hundreds of multi-storey brothels, housing roughly 14,000 prostitutes from all over India. Many of the sex workers have been trafficked into the profession, and are forced to sleep through the day and work tirelessly through the night. Other women have made a conscious decision to join the trade with the promise of higher earnings than their previous position. PHOTOGRAPH BY Sujatro Ghosh / Barcroft Media (Photo credit should read Sujatro Ghosh / Barcroft India via Getty Images)

KOLKATA -- A section of sex workers in Sonagachi, considered Asia's largest red light area, is all set to begin a new phase in their lives armed with training in acting, dancing and singing for a career in films and television soaps.

Several girls who were rescued by NGOs after being forced into flesh trade, sex workers who want to leave the profession and children of sex workers are now undergoing a workshop training programme where they are being trained by professionals in the ABC of acting.

The project christened 'Muktir Alo' (Light of Freedom), a pet project of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, is aimed at bringing back the sex workers and their children to the mainstream .

"This is a second phase of the rehabilitation programme for the sex workers and their family members and those girls who have been rescued from the flesh trade. In this project we aim to train them in dancing/ acting and singing, so that they can get an opportunity in movies and serials," state women development and social empowerment minister Sashi Panja told PTI.

Earlier the government had brought in various rehabilitation schemes such as vocational training, workshops on sewing, weaving. But those projects couldn't gain much popularity as they were not financially lucrative.

Panja said that her department and coordinators of the project have already spoken to several film and serial producers and directors in order to provide the sex workers who are being trained in acting, to get their first break.

Apart from acting lessons, the girls are also being given classes in spoken english.

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