CBOs give fresh hopes to sex workers

Published: 22nd November 2012 11:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd November 2012 11:51 AM   |  A+A-

The efforts of the community-based organisations (CBOs) to rehabilitate sex workers by providing them a proper source of income has begun to bear fruits in the state.

The officials of the Kerala State Aids Control Society (KSACS) which runs the CBOs in accordance with the National Aids Control Programme (NACP) said that the flow of sex workers for the rehabilitation programme has shown a sharp increase, when compared with  other states in the country.

KSACS joint director Dennis Joseph said that Kerala has 14 CBOs, which is the highest in the country. “At a time when other states were reluctant to  disburse funds to rehabilitate the sex workers, Kerala has been successful in this mission,” he said. Unlike the NGOs that also undertake  rehabilitation work under the KSACS, the CBOs are being run by the sex workers.

Joseph said that under every CBO, there is an executive committee consisting of seven members which will decide all matters pertaining to them. “Finding a proper source of income comes first in the list, giving the sex workers a sense of ownership. Today, many among them have successfully taken up vocations like catering, candle making, opening beauty clinics and the like. The definite source of income has given them a sense of dignity,” he said.

The CBOs are also subject to all the formalities prescribed for an NGO. There is no relaxation to the rules when it comes to the monitoring of the activities.

“All the CBOs are legally registered and have to abide by the bylaws. The CBO will not be allowed to continue its operations, if any  fund misappropriation is found out,” he said.

Joseph also pointed out the case of a CBO at Thiruvananthapuram that was terminated for  misusing the funds. The officials said that identifying sex workers is comparatively easy for a CBO than an NGO. “As far as the NGOs are concerned, they have difficulty in identifying the sex workers to rehabilitate them. But as the CBOs are being run by them, such a problem is solved,” they said.


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