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Status of Sex Workers in Delhi

A recent study done on commercial sex workers working in Delhi’s red light area have come up with some revealing facts. More than 41% women sex workers in the capital’s GB road enter the profession because of sheer poverty, 39% of their own free will. Only 50% use condoms and the social welfare dept say despite their best efforts health and hygiene standards cannot be improved beyond occasional checks by mobile vans as the law does not recognize their existence.

Most of the women at GB road have come from other states, Andhra Pradesh topping the list with 28.7% sex workers hailing from the state. These findings have come from the survey of Delhi’s sex workers done by the Delhi Commission for Women. The study -400 commercial sex workers from G.B Road were studied and inputs were also taken from the rescued women in govt homes even if their numbers were not included in the sample size. This study aimed at a need assessment of Delhi’s sex workers and their children and also to draw up a demographic and health profile of the neglected community.The main purpose is to draw up a comprehensive policy for prevention of trafficking and incidence of HIV/AIDS.

The study found that the work is mainly conducted through the Kotha Malkins who take a large percentage of the income so that for an average sex worker the monthly income is quite low,72.5% earn between Rs 3000-5000 and 20.7% earn more than Rs 5000.

A 57.5% of respondents admitted to substance abuse with smoking being the most popular one followed by alcohol, heroin and marijuana.23.7% complained of exploitation, 54.4% of them held the police responsible. More than 85% of these women have some sort of identity proof like ration card, voter I-card or even passport which they procure with the help of police.

While more than 60% of women surveyed have children, only 40% of them go to school signalling that second generation’s entry in the profession is difficult to be stopped.

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