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Not Beyond the Society

 A little place in cybespace for those who get all the precipitate of love and sex, yet are kept beyond the society
   

 Web Site dedicated to the initiatives of Dr. Smarajit Jana at Calcutta

 Network of Sex Work Pr ojects (NSWP)

 Harvard AIDS Institute (Harvard University)

 Health Action Information Network (HAIN)

 Prostitutes' Education Network (PEN)


 

PRESS INVITATION

Dear Friend,

To protest against the continuous torture and violence on the sex workers of Bangladesh , we, Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) will organise a peaceful rally from Sealdah station followed by submission of memorandum to the Deputy High Commissioner, Bangladesh in Calcutta, tomorrow. The rally will start sharp at 12 p.m. and will be participated by members of DMSC at local and district level. Following the murder of Jesmin, a sex worker at Tan Bazar brothel in early July, major political forces have been at work to close the brothel in the name of rehabilitation, a program funded by UNDP within the Ministry of Social Welfare. While the UNDP project was not meant to be coercive, other forces have taken control and, despite fervent resistance by the residents of Tan Bazar and their supporters, violence and disregard of human rights continues. This brothel and another nearby named Nimtoli, also similarly affected by these events, represent nearly 30% of all brothel-based sex workers in Bangladesh. DMSC, has already taken initiatives worldwide to raise voice of the like minded sex workers organisations against such inhuman torture on the sex workers in Bangladesh . In this regard, we would like to inform you that Amnesty International has taken a resolution against the eviction , violence and the kidnapping of Sathi (leader of the sex workers, at Tanbazar, Bangladesh) in a workshop titled "Human Rights Defender workshop" held in Bhubaneshwar (29 to 31 July'99 ). We look forward to your kind co-operation and active participation in the rally, and we hope to receive your support as always. With warm regards,

( Ms. Putul Singh ) Secretary,

DMSC

Dated. 4rd August,1999

Incident at TanBazar

- From Dr. Samarajit Jana at Calcutta and Bangladesh

In early July'99, Jesmin, a sex worker at the Tan Bazar brothel in Bangladesh was murdered. Since then major political forces are trying to close down the brothel in the name of rehabilitation. The programme is UNDP funded. And they have sactioned $20 million . It is being implemented incollaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare. Though it is assumed that UNDP does not recomend violent means, large scale violence is being used at Tan Bazar and at Nimtoli nearby. Nearly 30% of all the brothel-based sex workers of Bangladesh live in these areas. Here HIV prevalence is 15 per 1000 persons and, syphilis prevalence is about 50%. Hence the impact of scattering away of these women all over the country, will result in the spread of HIV epidemic all over Bangladesh and in its neighbourhood. The situation took a very ugly turn at 3a.m., 24 July'99. Police entered Tan Bazar brothel in collusion with the project staff of UNDP. Herded the women out. Beat them and forced them into buses and drove them away. Sathi, leader of the sex workers' movement against eviction and forced rehabilitation here has been kidnapped by the police. Though they deny it. Her whereabouts are not known. Some of the sex workers lost their children in the melee. The fate of the women captured by the police is abuse, torture and rape by the keepers of 'law'. Some have fled and, are living as fugitives. All this is in blatant violation of the UN Human Rights charter, Women's rights championed by the UN, the HIV and STD reduction policies of the WHO and UNAIDS. So far 51 himan rights groups and other organizations of Bangladesh have lodged their complaints against Tan Bazar violence to the local government. They plan to develop a legal action to try to keep the brothel from being destroyed or occupied and, to demand humane conditions for the women living there. They have already organised demonstration and myself was present at that period. I left Dhaka the very next day following the deamonstration. What we expect at this moment is that NSWP and other like minded organisations should raise their voice and if possible, arrange for some demonstrations before the UNDP headquaters in Washington D.C. and in Geneva. and create pressure upon UNDP to stop so called rehabilitation programme immediately at Tanbazar. Let us raise our voice together.

Policy Implications of STD/HIV Intervention
among Sex Workers and Their Clients

Dr. S. Jana of All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Calcutta, India in his paper . The STD/HIV Intervention Program (SHIP) was initiated at Sonagachi in September 1992, after a baseline survey was conducted from April to June 1992. The aim of this intervention program was to reduce the burden of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among female commercial sex workers (CSWs) and to curtail the transmission of STDs and HIV through reformation of behavioral habits of CSWs and their clients

Three Years at Sonagachi

Dr. S. Jana of All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Calcutta, India in his paper. Recognition of the sex workers' profession has evoked an atmosphere of faith and mutual reciprocity. It has also strengthened the sense of professionalism among the sex workers. Now they aspire for a better environment within the locality. They have learned to identify their occupational rights. In addition, emphasis has been placed on the inclusion of sex workers in all spheres of program activities.

The Manifesto

A new spectre seems to be haunting the society. Or maybe those phantom creatures who have been pushed into the shades for ages are taking on human form -- and that is why there is so much fear. The sex workers' movement for last few years have made us confront many fundamental questions about social structures, life sexuality, moral rights and wrongs. We think an intrinsic component of our movement is to go on searching for the answers to these questions and raise newer ones.

 

Mahila Samanwaya Committee secretary Sandhya Mukherjee discusses problems of right in a Reuter quoted report. This report also points that a debate among international women's organizations about trafficking emerged in the context of the the demonstration. This is reported by Sanfransisco based Bayswan organisation.

 

The World Bank press release notes that Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can sometimes avoid this controversy and are often more effective than governments at working with people with very risky behavior. In Calcutta's Sonagachi red-light district, for example, the Indian government, donor countries, three local NGOs, and sex workers are working together in a prevention program that has held HIV among the sex workers in the area at low levels.


'
'Sex Work is Real Work, We Demand Workers' Rights'', say slogans splashed on walls here in Sonagachi, one of India's biggest red-light areas where sex workers have joined hands to demand dignity of labour. Every town and city has brothels, but there are no rules or laws to protect sex workers. ''There is no specific law on prostitution,'' says Amina Banerjee, president of the Durbar Mahila Samanway Committee (women's integration committee), recently set up by sex workers in Calcutta.


It is perhaps time to take an unbiased look. Stopping prostitution is impossible, while opening it up to regulation improves matters, even if it is morally unacceptable to many. But leaving it as it exists is neither here nor there -- and sitting on the fence isn't necessarily the best approach. India Today takes a look at Legal Soliciting 

 

Harvard AIDS letter defines the AIDS problem in India

 

 Wall Street Journal reports that AIDs prevention programme in Calcutta has met hostility

 5 million truck drivers at heart of looming AIDS crisis in India , reports Seatlle Times, USA

 

 

 

Dr Michael Merson, Executive Director, World Health Organisation Global Programme on AIDS, appeals to Asian Leaders "TO FACE THE REALITY OF AN EXPLOSION OF AIDS IN ASIA"

 The Health Action Information Network (HAIN) of Quezon City, the Philippines, hails Sonagachi project as one of the two most successful in World

Family Health International It is important to recognize that many aspects of the STD control model of specialized treatment and referral centers developed in industrialized countries may not be appropriate. Sonagachi is an example.

   

 Populations are soaring in developing countries, where a host of other problems often take precedence. More and more people are drawn to cities, where prostitution feeds on a mix of poverty and modern consumer values. Telegraph Herald, USA takes a look at the problem

 

 

 

 

 

 British Council Newletter : PITA was formed with an aim of 'cleansing' society and as ameans of social reform. But as Dr S. Jana, project director of the STD/HIV Intervention Programme points out, it presupposes the sex workers as wrong-doers but does not talk about rehabilitation.

 

 

 The Problem of Sex Tourism and Child exploitation as portaryed by Rahul Bedi  
   
   

 

 

Contact

 Dr. S. Jana

Project Director
STD/HIV Intervention Programme
All India Institute of Hygiene & Public Health
110, C. R. Avenue
Calcutta - 700 073

Ph # +91-33- 241-5253
Fax # +91- 33- 241-2539

email: sjana@giascl01.vsnl.net.in

and

Ms. Mala Singh

Convenor
Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC)
8/2 , Bhawani Dutta Lane
Calcutta - 700 073, India

email: sjana@giascl01.vsnl.net.in

tel: +91-33-241-6200
fax:+91-33-241-6283