Sex Workers In Pune Resume Work But Will Take All Precautions Including Wearing Gloves And Masks. It Will Definitely Help
One of the most interesting things we have been learning during this pandemic is how governments are asking people to have sex, but safely. Recently, the city of New York put out some guidelines, recommending that people use masks while having sex and also some guidelines to having orgies. Now while the Indian government has not released any such statements, despite it being something that would be anticipated, it’s obvious that being at home when you’re single could mean being completely cut off from any sexual interaction. Given this situation and the lockdown, sex workers around the country have been struggling to make ends meet. Their income has been suddenly cut off and they are left with little to fend for themselves. Thousands have been left without work, and several have moved back to their hometowns. Even as NGOs continue to work towards a better livelihood for sex workers, the societal stigma and shutting out of their community makes it extremely difficult for them to find resources and seek help.
Now that the lockdown has been eased, sex workers in Pune are looking at getting back to business and taking all the necessary precautions while doing so. In the Budhwar Perth area of Maharashtra, nearly 3,000 sex workers have been adversely affected by the lockdown. According to Tejasvi Sevekari, executive director of the Saheli Sangh NGO, they are now planning to resume work and even explore alternatives like phone sex.
The NGO has put in place some standard operating procedures (SOPs) and guidelines which are applicable to sex workers across the country who are connected through the National Network of Sex Workers. They are also training them on the extra precautions and safety measures that need to be taken. “Since there will be physical contact with customers, we have chalked out SOPs and guidelines. While condoms are mandatory, now masks and gloves are also a must during sexual activity. They have been asked to use hand sanitisers and disinfectants,” Sevekari said. Some will even make use of thermal scanners and foot operated sanitiser dispensers placed outside their premises.
— Asianet Newsable (@ANN_Newsable) June 22, 2020
“As no COVID-19 case was reported from the red light area here, the containment zone tag and barricading have been removed. While majority of the sex workers are still not ready to start their work, a handful of them have resumed business as they are facing financial crunch due to the long lockdown.”
ALSO READ: Sex Workers Are Displaced, Starving And Facing A Dearth Of Healthcare Amidst The Pandemic. Their Future Remains Precarious.
Audio and video clips are being used to share the training, guidelines, and precautions with them.
Inspector Jagannath Kalaskar from Faraskhana police station has said that they are in contact with NGOs in the area to make sure all precautions are taken. “Sex workers have been told not to stand or sit outside their rooms, and those are ill or infected with HIV have been asked to stay away,” he said.
Throughout the lockdown, over 2,000 commercial sex workers (CSWs) were being provided ration in a coordinated effort by the local police and various NGOs working for the welfare of the women.https://t.co/Hmubw6oT31
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) June 23, 2020
While the situation isn’t ideal, it still means that the sex workers can rake in some income and that is a relief. Of course, with the number of cases rising every day, this is extremely risky, but there aren’t many options left for some of these people. We can only hope for the best.