University Students Educating Sex Worker's Children in Kolkata

by VR Sreeraman on  July 30, 2007 at 8:25 PM Indian Health News   - G J E 4
University Students Educating Sex Worker's Children in Kolkata
Over hundred college students from West Bengal's Jadavpur University have taken the responsibility of educating children of the sex workers in Kolkata.

The students are conducting special education classes in the various red-light areas that include Sonagachi, Tollygunj, Kalighat and others under the State-run voluntary students' programme, the National Social Service (NSS).

The students have formed teams of two persons each. They then approach sex workers and persuade them to send their children to attend evening classes conducted by them.

Bappa Mullick, the Director with Jadavpur University's Youth Welfare Department, said: "Students go there (red-light areas) regularly from Monday to Saturday. They teach the under-privileged kids and also the sex worker's children in the red light areas. The special classes are open for anyone from the nearby area."

Students are also imparting the children training in skills like stitching; embroidery and painting to enable them earn their livelihood.

Monica Banerjee, one of the student-teachers, said: "The students are mainly from red-light-area. Our aim is to train and teach them so that they can have a respectable source of income. Also they would be accepted in the mainstream society because of this."

Sex worker's children, especially girls, take these classes very sincerely. Most of them view it as the best medium to join the mainstream society.

Salina Khatun, the daughter of a sex-worker, said: "I am learning embroidery and stitching here. I am learning this so that I can earn my living through a respectable means. We want to be independent and stand on our own feet but we don't want to go in a wrong profession."

Violence, lack of access to healthcare, and HIV infections are causing concern to sex-workers in the country.

In 2005, as per there were at least 40,000 sex workers in Kolkata alone as per official estimates.

Prostitution is outlawed in the country but the country has over two million sex-workers, most of them living on the fringes of society.

The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 [2] makes trafficking and sexual exploitation of persons for commercial purpose a punishable offence.

The Act was passed on the lines of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, signed by India on May 9, 1950.

Although the Act was amended twice (1978 and 1986), it did not prove to be an effective deterrent to trafficking or sexual exploitation for commercial purposes.

The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2006 aims to punish traffickers and provide for stringent punishment to offenders.

Of all States, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are considered "high supply" sex workers zones in the country.

Source: ANI

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