Sexworkers take to the streets of Bangalore

Chandni, a hijra sexworker addresses the gathering as Suvarna from Vaishya Anyaya Mukthi Parishad and Manohar Elavarthi, a social activist look on

visit http://sexworkerskarnataka.blogspot.com/ for photos

Karnataka State Coalition Against ITPA
No. 9 ABABIL, Patel Cheluvappa Street, J C Nagar [M R Palya], Bangalore – 560006


POST EVENT PRESS RELEASE
July 1, 2008, Bangalore

KILL THE BILL

Sexworkers take to the streets of Bangalore
demanding the central government to
drop the ITPA amendment process

National Day of Action against ITPA Amendments

Around 700 Sexworkers and human rights activists working on issues of women, dalits, workers, HIV-AIDS, sexual minorities, children, farmers, religious minorities, urban poor, environment etc. marched on the streets of Bangalore today, the National Day Of Action against the ITPA (Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act) amendments to urge the central government to drop the ITPA amendment process immediately. Sexworkers took to the street today not only in Bangalore but also in Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Baroda, Rajamundry and Bhuvaneshwar. The public rally started from Chikka Lalbagh (Majestic) at 3:30 PM and culminated at 5 PM at the Mysore Bank Circle.

Rallyists carried placards with messagesDon’t destroy the livelihood of Sexworkers by criminalizing their clients’, ‘Drop ITPA amendment process immediately’, ‘Recognize sexwork as legitimate work’, ‘Criminalizing clients of sexworkers will not help in combating trafficking’, ‘Criminalizing clients of sexworkers will increase HIV-AIDS’, ‘Criminalizing clients of sexworkers will increase human rights violations against sexworkers’, ‘Central Government must listen to the voices of sexworkers’, ‘Sexworkers demand workers rights’. All through the rally people were shouting slogans including ‘Kill the ITPA Amendment Bill’, ‘Anti-people Central Minister for Women, Renuka Chowdhry – Down, Down’, My Body – My Right’, ‘Our Future – We Determine’, ‘Sexworkers are not criminals’, ‘Punishing clients will increase the spread of HIV’, ‘We want Justice’, ‘Where and Who got independence of 1947 – not us, not poor people of India’

More than 2000 people gathered at the Mysore Bank Circle and listened attentively to the fiery voices of sexworkers leaders. Veena, treasurer of Karnataka Sexworkers Union said ‘I condemn the attitude of the Indian government which does not listen to the voices of the sexworkers and plans to go ahead with the ITPA Amendment process. We have been protesting on the streets for the last 3 years, have advocated with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on this issue and have been appealing to the central cabinet ministers. This government disregards the views of not only sexworkers but also of the parliamentary standing committee on this issue’.

Elavarthi Manohar, social activist said ‘The ITPA Amendment Bill seeks to: bring consensual sexwork under criminal law, criminalise poverty induced sex work as trafficking, punishes clients visiting brothels, allows lower ranking Police to arrest sex workers and raid brothels and detain sex workers in ‘corrective’ institutions for seven years. The ITPA Amendment Bill fails to support survivors of trafficking, exposes sex workers to violence & abuse and undermines HIV prevention work. The bill needs to be killed immediately as it proposes to terrorise sexworkers and their clients’.

The public meeting ended by burning the ITPA Amendment Bill 2006 symbolically.

Veena

Treasurer (Karnataka Sexworkers Union)

For more information contact: 9880223460 (Manohar), 9880365692 (Gurukiran)

Constituent Organizations: Aneka, Ashodaya Samithi, Jyothi Mahila Sangha, Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum, Karnataka Sexworkers Union, LesBiT, Samara, Sangama, Sangram, Suraksha, Swathi Mahila Sangha, Veshya Anyay Mukthi Parishad, Vijaya Mahila Sangha

3 Responses

  1. This is really amazing. I think it would be very difficult to get a 700 strong coalition in favor of sex-worker rights to march in the US to protest an anti-trafficking statute. Or maybe I just don’t go to rallies enough?

    I’d guess that mainstream culture in India is as sexually conservative as it is in the US, and the fact that rights workers there are brave and committed enough to be this publicly vocal (not to mention Unionized), helps me to think that change in the US is more possible, more rapidly than I usually allow myself to dare.

    Article about the Karnataka Sexworkers Union: http://www.thehindu.com/2006/05/02/stories/2006050219760400.htm (benefits? Pensions? Intriguing…)

  2. Love it!

  3. […] of trafficking, Indian Sex Workers Took To The Streets in protest of a new bill that  "seeks to: bring consensual sexwork under criminal law, […]

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