Latest modern slavery fight updates - FreedomUnited.org

India: Protect Sex Workers’ Right to Reject Rehab

  • Published on
    November 26, 2018
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Anti-Slavery Activists, Human Trafficking, Rehabilitation & Liberation
Hero Banner

Campaigners in India are fearing that the country’s anti-trafficking bill could end up punishing consenting, adult sex workers by locking them up and incorrectly treating them like trafficking victims.

India’s women’s minister believes the bill will unify existing anti-trafficking laws, support survivors’ needs, and prevent victims from being jailed. However, sex workers’ rights organizations and some women’s rights activists say that the legislation does not differentiate between sex trafficking and consenting sex work, ultimately leading to ‘forced rehab.’

“There is a concern among sex workers’ rights movements about adult consenting sex workers being incarcerated in protection homes,” said Aarti Pai of the India-based National Network of Sex Workers.

Thomson Reuters Foundation reports:

Britain’s Guardian newspaper on Saturday quoted former inmates of a shelter in Hyderabad run by anti-trafficking charity Prajwala as saying it was worse than prison and that they were beaten and forced to work unpaid.

“You can’t force rehabilitation on survivors who reject it,” said Devi, a women’s rights activist who goes only by her first name.

“Why can’t a shelter home be an open house – if a person doesn’t want to learn, let her go. They (those in sex work out of choice) are sent as trafficking victims to these homes,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Most of the more than 23,000 trafficking victims rescued in 2016 were women and girls, according to government data. Rescued survivors are taken to hostels run by charities or the government.

Prajwala founder Sunitha Krishnan hit back at allegations that the shelter exploited women for their labor, saying “Shelters are required as a transit space for any human being who is grievously traumatised to gain the coping skills to reintegrate into the society.”

Prajwala is also a member of TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono legal program.

The lower house of India’s parliament cleared the anti-trafficking bill in July, and it is expected to be tabled in the upper house next month.

Subscribe

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This week

The "Migration Pact" that could mean the end of human rights in the E.U.

After nearly a decade of deliberation, the European Parliament recently passed a sweeping overhaul of the European Union’s asylum and migration rules with what is known as the “Migration Pact” which advocates say will lead to an increase in human rights abuses, including extreme exploitation. According to Al Jazeera, prominent E.U. figures like German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and E.U. Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson believe these reforms

| Wednesday April 10, 2024

Read more