On the occasion of the International Sex Workers Day, sex workers from across the country on Monday demanded that they be treated as equal citizens so that they can access various social entitlements offered to citizens in general.
They also wanted to be recognised as unorganised workers and to be brought under the universal pension scheme.
With the Lok Sabha elections ahead, the All India Network of Sex Workers, which represents at least three million sex workers, has written to political parties and the Election Commission of India appealing them to help them get voter card so that they can exercise their franchise.
"Sex workers including their family members cannot access various social entitlements offered to citizens in general. We consider sex work is like any other occupation belonging tounorganised sector.
"We want our representation in the process of designing any comprehensive social security scheme as that would help our social inclusion what government and planning commission is committed to achieve," said Bharati Dey, President of AINSW.
Further members of AINSW demanded that every political party clarify their stand about the pension rights of sex workers and accordingly articulate their concern in the Election Manifesto.
"We are against trafficking in sex work and we have been working to prevent trafficking and entry of minor in sex trade. Trafficking and sex work are two different issues and cannot be conflated. Sex work should be decriminalised in all aspects," said Kusum, general secretary of AINSW.