Provide food and ration to commercial sex workers: OHRC

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Human Rights Commission on Monday passed an order to the Commissioner, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, for providing food and rations to the commercial sex workers. In its order it has specified that the rations should be given irrespective of the fact that they have ration cards or not. The order further specified that strict compliance should be made and reported in the next hearing.

The order was passed on the petition of Namrata Chadda, Chairperson of MADHYAM and Mahila Adhikar Abhiyan, where she had highlighted the plight of the sex workers in the lockdown and corona scenario. She has been arranging rations from NGO’s and other sources for them.

Anil Dhir, a social activist, who had earlier written to the authorities about the condition of the sex workers of Bhubaneswar and Paradeep said that they were among the most vulnerable and marginalised groups affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The loss of income has put them in depths of anxiety and deprivation. He said that none of them have Jan Dhan accounts, in spite of the fact that they have Aadhar cards. He has requested the authorities to convert their existing bank accounts into Jan Dhan accounts so that they receive Rs 500 each month as announced by the government under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. All women account-holders under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) are eligible to receive direct cash transfers of Rs. 500 per month for next three months. Further, the government must announce a specific economic package for them to help them tide over the crisis.

Pradipta Tripathy, the General Secretary of Bharat Raksha Manch said that this was the right opportunity for the Government to take measures for rehabilitating the sex workers who have been forced into the trade. He said that alternate livelihood scopes should be explored by the authorities.

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