COVID-19 Relief

Sex workers in Budhwar Peth apply to return to native place, say they want to go home

Since a lockdown was announced, police completely closed business in the red light area. During this period, the Pune Police and various welfare organisations have continued to provide ration and food to sex workers and also facilitated their healthcare needs.

Covid-19 Relif by Jwala Shakti Samuh, Jharkhand

A LARGE number of commercial sex workers (CSW) in Pune’s red light area at Budhwar Peth want to return home as their source of income is completely suspended due to a nationwide lockdown. However, being in a containment zone, travelling out of Pune is not permitted as of now, while the larger question is: will their families accept them?

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Not Kowtowing to Crisis: Sex Workers Distribute Ration, Medicines and Hope Amid Covid-19 Lockdown

What is really required from the government is to include these ‘invisible workers’ in policies related to Covid-19, and to reach out to them with support and aid.

Covid-19 Relif by Jwala Shakti Samuh, Jharkhand

Covid-19 lockdown has hit the country in different manners. Be it rich, poor, or marginalised sections of the society, all have been facing its severe impact in their own ways. One such section of the society is of sex workers, who are struggling every day to survive as the nationwide lockdown has put a temporary end to their services, leading to financial crisis and lack of basic amenities like food and medicine.

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An Unequal Battle

Caught off-guard by the lockdown, sex workers in the state find that they not only have to struggle through limited resources but also fight age-old prejudice.

Covid-19 Relif by Jwala Shakti Samuh, Jharkhand

Jwala Shakti Samuh, Jharkhand

In Jharkhand, many women go to the state's capital Ranchi from their villages for sex work where they either stay on rent or travel 50-60km every day for work. As they have documents from their villages, they often cannot avail of the government facilities in the city. Since most of them are residence/home-based sex workers, their identity is not disclosed.

A sex worker said, "I had gone to the ward member for three continuous days to ask for ration but got only 2kg rice. Through Srijan Foundation I received a bag of different grocery items that will last for a month otherwise I couldn't understand what to do and whom to go to."

Another said since her income is dependent on her everyday work, whatever savings she had was spent to survive the initial days of the lockdown. Once it was over she had to ask people for help. She says after receiving ration from Nnsw India she is relieved.

We have so far assisted 33 women in Ranchi and Gumla, but after going to the field, it was found that there are still more sex workers who are in need of support. If the lockdown continues, the situation is going to get pathetic & we will require your further cooperation and support.
- From Jwala Shakti Samuh & Srijan Foundation, Jharkhand

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Covid-19 Relif by Jwala Shakti Samuh, Jharkhand
Covid-19 Relif by Jwala Shakti Samuh, Jharkhand
Covid-19 Relif by Jwala Shakti Samuh, Jharkhand

Jwala Shakti Samuh & Srijan Foundation, Jharkhand

Facebook Link : https://www.facebook.com/nnsw.india/posts/2727223240832862

Swadhar Sangh, Maharashtra

Swadhar Sangh writes,
Troubled by constant raid and eviction, the COVID19 pandemic brought another havoc in the lives of the community members in Amalner & Chopda. Sex workers who could return to their villages went back but 60% of the women stayed in the area.

It is through the relief kit provided that our stomachs are full today. We have ration for April but the uncertainty of lockdown worries us. Only 133 women are in need right now but the number may increase to 250–300. We can feed ourselves now but there is no money to send to our families in the village. On behalf of Swadhar Sangh and Adhar Sanstha, we want to thank you for your generous contribution. Special thanks to Nnsw India and Sangram Sanstha

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Covid-19 Relif by Swadhar Sangh, Maharashtra
Covid-19 Relif by Swadhar Sangh, Maharashtra

Swadhar Sangh, Maharashtra

Facebook Link : https://www.facebook.com/nnsw.india/posts/2726175840937602

Vadamalar Federation, TamilNadu

Prema from Kanyakumari says, "I am not infected by Corona, but affected by mental stress and anxiety due to loss of income. This help from NNSW has been a great support for us during such difficult times." We distributed food packets comprising rice, dal, wheat, oil and channa dal in 5 districts in TN among 177 sex workers. Sex workers in TN have been deeply impacted due to the COVID19 pandemic. They have not been able to go for work, even before the lockdown. This loss of income has rendered them unable to take care of routine expenses like buying ration, paying rent, buying medicines, etc.

Jayanthi from Kanyakumari says that NNSW's timely support has made her feel good. She said that it felt consoling that she has people who will help her during such crises and that she is not alone. This relief has made many sex workers interested in joining CBOs and becoming part of the Vadamalar Federation.

Meena from Theni says, "after I distributed ration to sex workers in Theni, I have been getting calls continuously and women are asking that they want to join the federation. They expressed deep thanks for the support." Meena also said that she is happy that she was able to involve herself in relief work. The difference it made in people's lives is motivating her to work harder.
- From Vadamalar Federation - SIAAP communities, TamilNadu

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Covid-19 Relif by Vadamalar Federation, TamilNadu
Covid-19 Relif by Vadamalar Federation, TamilNadu

Vadamalar Federation, TamilNadu

Facebook Link : https://www.facebook.com/nnsw.india/posts/2725456041009582
Lockdown, Sex workers anxious over the months ahead

Lockdown | Sex workers anxious over the months ahead

Loss of income, mounting debt, and lack of support for families in villages haunt them

“I am now reduced to a beggar and rely entirely on free cooked meals distributed in our area,” says Laxmi Mane (name changed), a 32-year-old sex worker in Pune’s largest red light district, Budhwar Peth. The lockdown and the fear of COVID-19 has meant that this primary bread winner of her family of five has no source of income now, and perhaps for months to come.

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