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An introduction to DMSC – A collective of and by the sex workers for the sex workers Presented by Bharati Dey Secretary, DMSC

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Presentation on theme: "An introduction to DMSC – A collective of and by the sex workers for the sex workers Presented by Bharati Dey Secretary, DMSC"— Presentation transcript:

1 An introduction to DMSC – A collective of and by the sex workers for the sex workers Presented by Bharati Dey Secretary, DMSC Email: bdey.durbar@gmail.combdey.durbar@gmail.com sonagachi@sify.com URL: www.durbar.org An introduction to DMSC – A collective of and by the sex workers for the sex workers Presented by Bharati Dey Secretary, DMSC Email: bdey.durbar@gmail.combdey.durbar@gmail.com sonagachi@sify.com URL: www.durbar.org

2 As a fall out effect of a right based HIV prevention program (initiated in Kolkata in the early part of 1992) DMSC, a sex worker’s organization came into existence by 1995. Presently DMSC represents voices of 60,000 sex workers (Female, Male and Transgender) in the state of West Bengal, India and the organization is involved in various development program including violence redressal activities. Background

3  Durbar’s vision : We seek a world where all marginalized communities of the world will live in an environment with equal Respect, Rights, Status and Dignity. We hope for a social order where there will be no discrimination based on class, caste, gender, religion or occupation. All the people of the world will live in peace and harmony.  Durbar’s Mission : To enhance a process of social and political change in order to establish right, dignity and improvement of social status including that of quality of lives of all the Sex workers of the world as a part of the global movement to establish the rights of marginalized people.

4 DMSC run HIV Interventions Target groups: Sex workers (brothel based & street based), babu, clients of SW, Children of sex workers 49 dedicated STI clinics, condom programming, BCC, care & support to positive women Total SWs covered : 28045 Total project staff is around 700, 85% of them represent from the community & 15% from non-community

5  Policy level Advocacy  Meeting with parliamentarians  Meeting with candidates prior to election  Legal Intervention  Challenging clauses of ITPA in the high court.  Advocacy with academia  Workshop and seminars with academia and intellectuals  Social activism  Parliament march  Midnight procession  Sit in demonstration Durbar’s advocacy work

6 DMSC sees sex work as a contractual service, DMSC sees sex work as a contractual service, negotiated between consenting adults. The organization is against any force exercised against sex workers, be it by the client, brothel keepers, room owners, pimps, local goons, the police or the traffickers. Negotiated between consenting adults. The organization is against any force exercised against sex workers, be it by the client, brothel keepers, room owners, pimps, local goons, the police or the traffickers. The Mission of DMSC

7 Violence became an issue of sex workers’ organization Following their principle objective to dissociate sex work form all criminal associations DMSC decided to create a forum to deal with issues of violence including trafficking of women around 1999. DMSC consider violence against any sex workers is an attack against the organization (Policy document of DMSC 1999)

8 THE MODEL INTERVENTION OF DMSC & ITS GUIDING PRINCIPLES DMSC developed an effective model to combat violence in sex trade with the active involvement and participation of sex workers’ community. DMSC subsequently strategized to develop partnership with other government and non-governmental organizations and created a new structure called ' Self Regulatory Board' (SRB).

9 GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF DMSC IN DEALING WITH SURVIVORS OF VIOLENCE a) Respect, reliance and recognition of the individual; b) Basic humane approach (non threatening, not imposing barriers, not restricting movements and allowing social mixing); c) Respecting the agency of the individuals and her ability to take decision; d) To help him/her in exerting ‘choices’ and trying to arrange services instead of taking decision on her behalf); e) Create an enabling environment to help the community member in preventing violence and promoting rights.

10 Composition of self Regulatory Board as proposed The board is consist of 10-12 members: i) 6-7 members represents sex workers community (with equal representation from central and local committees of DMSC) ii) Remaining 4-5 members are: a) Local counselor / MLA / MP (representative from local government) b) Medical doctor from the Dept. of health c) Local known advocate / Representative from Bar Council e) Representative from Women’s Organization / women activists of repute f) Representative from Social Welfare Board (Ministry of women and social welfare)

11 How does it operate 1.State Mediated 2.Trade related 3.Domestic Monitoring any cases of violence including entry of minor girls or forced entry into the sex trade through the volunteers of DMSC and peer educators of HIV prevention program in place In case of incidence of any violence or identification of any new entrants into the trade are referred to the focal person of SRB Minor / Trafficked women Task force at DMSC help designing intervention with SRB Counseling & Offering Options Return to families (DMSC assess acceptability of families before returning the girls) Sending to Short Stay Homes Sending to Boarding Schools, linking with Vocational Training Placement in other occupation Referred to Branch Committee Combination of Strategies implemented with SRB Legal intervention Activism Media involvement Age determination / Counselling

12 Combination of Strategies to address police violence Mobilization of sex workers through Branch Committee Lodging FIR at the police station by the victims accompanied by DMSC members Advocacy cell informs relevant Administration & Political personalities Protest letter submitted to women's commission & Human Rights organization Media get mobilized Lawyer's engaged Demonstration by the sex workers

13 The Reduction of Police Raid throughout the year (Songachi)

14 No. of cases of Eviction by Landlord/Police

15 Typology of violence

16 Major Achievements Anti Trafficking Program  Formation of 33 Self Regulatory Boards in 33 red light districts with full or partial participation of Govt. & other representatives;  No. of minors in Sonagachi goes down from 25% in 1992 to 1.95% in 2010;  Median age of working girls in Sonagachi goes up from 22 in 1992 to 28.15 in 2010;  No. of girls rescued and reintegrated through SRB is 952 (Jan,2001 – December 2010).

17 Impact of Anti trafficking activities undertaken by DMSC The proportion of minor (age<18 years) girls in red light areas shows decline over the period Year1992199519982001200520082010 % of Girls <18 years 25.2921.473.563.122.52.151.95 The median age of sex workers in the red light district has gone up Year1992199519982001200520082010 Median Age (in years) 22 2728 28.15

18 Education Programme  Running 37 educational centre in 37 red light districts;  Around 565 sex workers and 1420 children of sex workers are enrolled under our non formal educational program/year  Run 2 hostels for the children of sex workers accommodating 100 children.  At present offering vocational training to 210 sex workers and 43 children/year. Contd….

19 The residential home in Baruipur, named RAHUL VIDYA NIKETAN, is located in the southern suburbs of the city. Rahul Vidya Niketan presently houses about 80 children in the age group of 5-14 years. All boarders at Rahul Vidya Niketan have enrolled in local ‘mainstream’ schools and are performing well in academics. In order to improve the children’s access to books, a small library has already been created at Rahul Vidya Niketan. The children are also taking part in various sporting activities and are excelling in it.

20 Addressing economic insecurity At present there are more than 16,000 members with annual turn over is equivalent to US $ 2.5 million; Each year on and average 4500 sex workers took loan to put their children in better education, buy land, engaged in small scale business etc. Improve economic securities has helped individual sex workers to enforce safer sex with their clients. We came up with the development of USHA, a sex workers co- operative society of and by the sex workers by 1995

21 Creating space & championing causes through cultural activities. Komol Gandhar, is the cultural wing of sex workers and their children, at present we have five teams representing 120 participants who are engaged in Dance, Drama, Mime, Street theatre, Songs, Music etc. They have performed hundred of programs all across the country highlighting issues of HIV, forceful eviction of brothel, discrimination, criminalization through law etc.

22 Intervention among Domestic and Construction Work ers

23 DMSC stand by the side of other marginalised communities  Sabars of amlasole – setting up of schools for the children of the sabars and a health centre in amlasole.  Nachnis of purulia – helping them get due recognition as entertainment workers from the government.  Fishermen of south bengal – formation of their own organisation and creating health awareness among them

24 THANK YOU


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