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Sex workers appeal for Funds amid Coronavirus crisis

As COVID-19 that has stalled Mumbai so its businesses and offices. Many small-scale industries taken on toll. After demonetization this is second shack to small traders and daily wages workers. Somehow the main stream professions have social acceptance and help, but there are many professions which has no social acceptance though they are the oldest among all. COVID-19 has distressed the sex industry, forcing workers to mobilize across India to start raising money for short-term financial support. Sex for sale has long been a primary part of the financial capital’s carefree nightlife. But amid concerns over the coronavirus, even the world’s supposedly oldest profession is suffering a sudden slump. Most of them live hand-to-mouth existences, with about ten in hundred having the ability to save up and feed themselves. Hundreds of sex workers are based at Kamathipura brothel have daily challenges. Many of them are already HIV positive, some have infants and some have grown up children. Feeding all of them is not easy task in such crises.

Kamathipura is divided into many lanes and divided according to regional and linguistic backgrounds of the sex workers. Most of the sex workers come from other Indian states. They don’t have any connect in Mumbai or anyone to seek help. There is little interaction between areas, which makes it harder for social organizations to organize them into a movement or union. Further, lack of public opinion, political leadership or social activism which is empathetic towards them means a tough time bringing them together and do something. Since this lockdown, they have gone jobless like any other citizen residing in Mumbai. Sex workers from these brothels appealed to the government for emergency funding after a ban on customers to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Thousands of sex workers are based at the Kamathipura and Pila House brothel and receives an estimated some hundreds of customers every day.

These sex workers no longer had money to pay for food for themselves or their children due to the sudden closure of the brothel. Right now, they need the government aid urgently. As countries globally began enforcing strict lockdowns to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, India, the world’s second most populous country, followed suit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown to contain the virus spread that has now killed 32 Indians and infected more than 1200 others, but there are more getting suffocated without bread and means to survive. We have exact figure of people getting killed and affected by COVID-19 but we don’t have people suffering and giving up their lives due to lockdown. Survival is challenged and resources are meager. Above all sex work is considered to be immoral by many of us and that is the reason these people have limited access to other world. Though they are living human but they are not treated like one, most of them live hand-to-mouth existences. Some mothers who are in sex work, had not been able to send money to their minor children who lives with their family outside the brothel, and they fear for their children were not being fed properly. Even if the ban or lockdown is lifted next month people would hesitate to go to the brothel for a long time because of the disease. There would be log suffering for this community. Authorities had pulled the plug entirely, ordering the temporary closure of all entertainment venues, including brothels. The virus has caused fear and uncertainty among the people. For most people the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of those who are infected recover from the new virus.

According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. It wasn’t clear how the closure of brothels would affect independent sex workers, but they know that nobody is going to compensate them for loss of income, as always, they’re left to fend for themselves.

Also Read:

Lockdown: People are not scared of Life to lose but livelihood

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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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