TODAY -

Commercial Sex Workers (CSW) pin hope on SC decree
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 08 2011: Shunned by the Government, ostracised by the society and constantly harassed by rogue customers, commercial sex workers in the State are hoping for return to normal life following a decree by the Supreme Court for rehabilitation programme of those involved in the world's oldest trade.

Daring to narrate her ordeal since joining the flesh trade due to circumstantial compulsion, one Laishram Geeta claimed there are nearly 300 commercial sex workers (CSWs) within the capital city.

Disclosing that in addition to about 30 CSWs present at North AOC area, nearly 300 CSWs involved in the trade are in Paona Bazar areas, Geeta said on February 14, 2011 the Supreme Court decreed that State Governments initiate relevant measures for rehabilitation of CSWs in States where red light zones exist.

Even though there are no official red light zones in Manipur, Geeta was hopeful that directive of the apex Court would also come in force in Manipur as the CSW population has been on the rise.

claiming that she entered the flesh trade after several odd jobs she had pursued failed to ensure two square meals a day, Geeta cited her husband preferring another woman as the first step for her to become a commercial sex worker.

While contending that she like many of her colleagues frequently face harassment from their clients, particularly uniformed personnel, Geeta expressed her determination to ditch the flesh trade provided there is rehabilitation programmes of the Government.

Explaining that the Supreme Court order emphasised on vocational training for the CSWs to be self-reliant, economically, she said the Supreme Court in yet another order on May 4 asked the State Governments concerned as to whether its initial order for rehabilitation programme had been implemented.

With no satisfactory response from the States concerned, the apex Court consequently instituted a committee for expeditious implementation of its earlier ruling.

The Committee is said to have held two meetings on August 5 and 17 which was attended by representatives of Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Haryana State Governments.

In an earlier ruling on July 19, the court reportedly asked the Centre to provide Rs 10 lakhs and the States concerned Rs 5 lakhs for ensuring smooth functioning of the Committee and its constituent units.

The task of the said Committee included thorough survey to figure out the number of CSWs in all the States in collaboration with the respective State Governments and NGOs working in the field.

While informing that the survey should be carried out with the involvement of State legal services authorities of the respective States, Geeta also elaborated that the Supreme Court on September 15 decreed that commercial sex workers should be provided ration cards, voter's identity cards, education of the CSWs children in Government schools and other amenities.

When contacted State's Social Welfare Department director G Seityabati conceded that on receipt of the Supreme Court ruling the requisite amount of Rs 5 lakhs has been deposited at the United Bank of India (MG Avenue Branch) .

Relevant measures taken up by the Department with regard to the Court's directive have also been conveyed to the SC-instituted Committee through the State's legal representative on September 8 this year, the Director maintained.

In compliance with the Court directive official processes had been set to conduct a survey on the number of CSWs in Manipur, Seityabati informed that expressed confidence on effective implementation of the SC directive socio-economic condition of the CSWs would improve substantially.


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