Kolkata sex workers take out torch rally on May Day

May 1st, 2009 - 2:08 pm ICT by ANI  

Kolkata, May 1 (ANI): Sex workers in Sonagachi, Kolkata’s biggest red light area, took out a torch rally on Friday seeking legalization of their profession.

The torch rally was organised under the aegis of a self-help group, dedicated to the cause of sex workers.

“‘May Day’ means ‘Labour Day’. Sex workers are labours. It should be looked like profession and not in any other way. So, we took out a rally on ‘Labour Day’,” said Bharati De, programme coordinator, the Durbar Mahila Samanway Committee, a self-help group.

Around 500 sex workers paraded down the streets of Kolkata at midnight to press for their demands. They said their profession is just like any other profession and hence they should not be looked down upon.

The sex workers also want the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA) to be discarded as they feel that the Act has certain provisions which restrict them from earning there livelihood.

“I am a sex worker and the right of sex worker should be there in the Parliament and in the State Assembly. We want to get registered as well. I also want the ITPA discarded,” said Swapna Roy, a sex worker.

The sex workers of Kolkata had gone on an indefinite hunger strike last year in the month of July, protesting against the ITPA.

Sonagachi, a bustling red light district is home to around 15,000 sex workers. It is estimated that in West Bengal alone there are 70,000 sex workers.

Although prostitution is illegal in India, it is a thriving underground industry. Voluntary groups estimate that there are about two million women sex workers. (ANI)

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