Bengal plans residential facility for former sex workers

Kolkata, Dec 23 : Former sex workers, in urgent need of healthcare, can breathe a sigh of relief. The West Bengal government plans to provide a residential facility for ailing sex workers complete with medical care.

On the anvil is another housing establishment that will cater to minor children of working members of the community.

"There will be two separate establishments. One will accommodate ailing former sex workers while the other will house minor children of present sex workers," Sashi Panja, parliamentary secretary, women and social welfare department, told IANS.

Initially, each will house 100 or so inmates.

"For the retired sex workers, the focus would be on health and for the children, education would be priority. Those sex workers who wish to take away their children from their environment will get a chance through this initiative," said Panja.

For the initiative -- a brainchild of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, a few residential spaces have been scouted in the south of the city.

Welcoming the decision, Bharati Dey, secretary of Durbaar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (a sex workers collective), said: "We haven't discussed anything with the state government yet. But the only concern is it shouldn't stigmatise the inhabitants as being a 'only sex workers' residential building."

--IANS (Posted on 23-12-2013)

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