Sex work is one of the oldest professions of the world and the most disrespected too. The lives of the women and their children are shackled with never ending miseries. These “fallen women” do not fall because of their profession but because we make them fall. Education, security, respect, dignity, divinity, livelihood; these are some subjects which are out of their reach. Their cries are often unheard by the society. There are people who are breaking the societal norms and extending the hand of empathy towards them. Impactpreneurs lists such social entrepreneurs who are adamant to bring revolution in the lives of the Female Sex Workers (FSWs) and their children in India.
- Aim: To abolish sex trafficking.
- Operated At: In the City of Pearls,Hyderabad, there is Prajwala (eternal light) which is ablazing to uplift the lives of the Female Sex Workers (FSWs) and their children. Currently, it has 17 transformation centres for FSWs’ children.
- Programmes: Prevention, Rescue, Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Advocacy.
- Amazing Factor: The co-founder, Sunitha Krishnan has been awarded India’s fourth highest civilian award, the Padma Shri in 2016 for her contributions to uplift the lives of the sex workers. She is a living inspiration as even after receiving death threats and attacks, and protests, she did not shut down her organization. She was even fortunate enough to escape acid attacks.
2. New Light
- Aim: To promote gender equality through education and abolish domestic violence.
- Operated At: New Light is operated in the infamous alley of Kalighati, Kolkata.
- Programmes: Various programmes organized are related to safe shelter, education, healthcare, empowerment, rescue and rehabilitation, gender-based violence advocacy, media advocacy and recreation.
- Amazing Factor: The Mukti Pad Project launched at New Light area paves a way to liberate the Female Sex Workers (FSWs) or victims of domestic violence.Mukti project is a project where women make biodegradable pads with water hyacinth as absorbent.
- Aim: To liberate Female Sex workers (FSWs) and their children.
- Operated At: Kat-Katha (story of puppet) operates in the infamous alley of G.B. Road of the national capital of India. They call their alley as Pyaar ka Mohalla (Street of Love) where 4000 families are trapped.
- Programmes: Maitri Meals (meal of friendship) is adding another chapter to the lives of didis ( FSWs at Kat-Katha which means elder sisters). Through Maitri Meals, they cook healthy and hygienic food mixed with love to earn their livings. Kat-Katha makes them realise that they are way ahead than selling their bodies. Kat-Kalrav is an annual festival celebrated on 15th August (Independence Day of India and also the anniversary of Kat-Katha) to mark the need for their real freedom.
- Amazing Factor: They were awarded Mahila Sammaan Award by the Government of Delhi for their contributions in the district of Central Delhi.
- Aim: To build the world where all marginalized people are given rights, respect and dignity.
- Operated At: Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (Unstoppable Women’s Synthesis Committee) is a community of 65000 sex workers (Male, Female & Transgender) in Kolkata, West Bengal.
- Programmes: Various activities are organized related to healthcare, education, culture, vocational, anti-trafficking, micro credit, research and training, and sports.
- Amazing Factor: It operates 51 free clinics for sex workers across West Bengal which are supported by Ford Foundation and National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO). It is also the largest sex-workers led committee in the world.
- Aim: To empower and educate trafficked girls, daughters of sex workers and girls from the marginalized section of the society.
- Operated At: Kranti (Revolution) operates in Asia’s second largest and the oldest red-light area of Mumbai, Kamathipura.
- Programmes: Various activities they conduct are therapy sessions, educational and extracurricular activities, theatres, documentaries and workshops. They believe that unless one sees the world they cannot understand the world. Hence, they travel 3-5 times in a year to NGOs, workshops and understand the diversities of the world. Lal Batti Express is the theatre they perform through which they depict the past, present and future of sex workers’ children.
- Amazing Factor: The co-founder, Robin Chaurasiya was nominated for $1 million, the Global Teacher’s Award.
- Aim: To safeguard the money earned by the FSWs which they can then pass onto their children.
- Operated At: They operate their bank in Kamathipura, Mumbai.
- Programmes: This bank provides savings account where FSWs can fearlessly deposit their money. Moreover, there is no such minimum deposit clause.
- Amazing Factor: The bank submits the money to The Bank of India so that they can earn more interest.
- Aim: To put an end to child prostitution, human trafficking and second generation prostitution.
- Operated At: In the land of Hindu pilgrimage, Varanasi, there resides Guria (doll).
- Programmes: Guria rescues people from human trafficking. They have organized India’s first ever cultural community of 30 FSWs who through dance and music aware and rehabilitate people.
- Amazing Factor: They have launched a worldwide campaign called Freedom Now where people from across the world take part.
- Aim: To bring the textile design and production industries to empower the women.
- Operated At: Though they operate in the United States of America but they employ the FSWs of India. This company is a non-profit 501c(3) organization.
- Programmes: They are a textile industry where they design and manufacture 100% recycled vintage cotton saris in Kantha style which are then sold online. These clothes are designed by the Indian women who are exploited or belong to marginalised section of the society.
- Amazing Factor: Till date, they have given an alternative career to 77 sex workers by employing them and have trained over 150 sex workers in India. Their designs have also been featured in Harper’s Bazaar.
- Aim: To provide secure finance to sex workers and their children.
- Operated At: It is operated in one of the largest red-light areas of Asia, Sonagachi (Kolkata).
- Programmes: They provide low-interest loans and high-interest rates on saving accounts of the sex workers.
- Amazing Factor: It is a bank which is a side shoot of Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee. It was titled as the Best Managed Cooperative in West Bengal in the year 2014 at the 61st All India Cooperative Week. Moreover, it is the first and the largest financial unit headed by sex-workers in Asia.
- Aim: To rehabilitate and empower the lives of the victims of sex trafficking and then reintegrate them into the society.
- Operated At: After getting inspired by Sunitha Krishnan’s TED Talk, Thread of Freedom was founded in Karnataka.
- Programmes: They provide a secure accommodation, training and job. They also provide services like medical care, confidentiality of their information, counselling, financial assistance and regular employment benefits.
- Amazing Factor: The rescued victims manufacture clothes for apparel retailers. If you want to shop to make their lives better then click here.
Such social enterprises are fighting to safeguard the sex workers from the clutches of HIV/AIDS. Moreover, they also motivate these women to be an entrepreneur. This fight cannot be fought alone by the social enterprises unless the society cooperates with them.