Karnataka Sex Workers’ Union Stages Protests against Jayamala Report
Karnataka Sex Workers’ Union Stages Protests against Jayamala Report; Urge to Decriminalize Sex Work
Bengaluru: Karnataka Sex Workers’ Union staged protests against the state government before town hall in the state capital on Saturday evening for excluding the sex workers’ organization and conducting a survey on the condition of sex workers in the state by making false promises of free housing and loans.
In the protest held, the general secretary of the Karnataka Sex Workers Union Bharathi said that “the government of Karnataka formed a committee headed by Member of Karnataka Legislative Council Jayamala to study the condition of sex workers in the state. Out of the 22 member committee, only three members were sex workers. A questionnaire with 169 questions was prepared by Jayamala committee. They conducted the survey by coercing government funded sex workers community based organisations working for prevention of HIV. This survey was conducted by offering false promises of free housing and loans.”
In this Survey respondents’ right to privacy has been violated in the by questions about residential address, phone number, HIV status and others. This is a serious attack on the privacy of sex workers, besides the possible misuse of this information seriously jeopardizes the safety of sex workers.
When the questionnaire came to the notice of Karnataka Sex workers Union a consultation was organized in Bengaluru with various women’s, human, health, sex workers’ rights activists, researchers and progressive thinkers. The key points of concerns that emerged from this consultation are
--The title of the survey says that it is about ‘The Women who Face Sexual Violence.’ This shows the prejudice and false assumption that all sex workers are victims of sexual violence.
--The survey is unscientific, riddled with irrelevant questions and is of inferior quality.
--It violates research methodologies, research ethics and several national and international protocols and guidelines.
--This committee did not consult sex workers organistaions regarding the survey questionnaire.
--In this survey a few questions are insensitive and rude, reflecting a patriarchal standpoint and narrow-mindedness.
These kinds of unscientific surveys using public resources are totally unacceptable, the union said. The president of National Network of Sex Workers (NNSW) and the Treasurer of Karnataka Sex Workers Union Nisha Gulur said “After the consultation, in a meeting with the chairperson of the Jayamala committee, Jayamala we shared the shortcomings of the survey and requested for a consultation with sex workers organisations before submitting the report. In spite of which the committee submitted this shabby report to the government.”
“Decriminalistion of sex work is the key expectation of most of the sex workers but it finds no mention in the report. We will not allow non-sex workers and anti-sex workers to decide policies or make decisions about us. We will ensure that we are in the forefront of any process of policy formations,” she added.
The organizing secretary of Karnataka Sex Workers Union, Dharani demanded to make the Jayamala Committee report public and start a dialogue with sex workers organizations, decrimanalise sex work by repealing immoral traffic (Prevention) Act and constitute a Sex Workers Welfare Board in the lines of Construction Workers Welfare Board.
Dharani also asserted that they will continue their fight against the spreading of prejudice and misconceptions about sex workers and they will ensure that sex workers will not be used as guinea pigs in unscientific and unethical surveys.Karnataka Sex Workers’ Union Stages Protests against Jayamala Report; Urge to Decriminalize Sex Work
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