Friday, February 24, 2012
Self-regulatory boards (SRBs) – an innovative and effective anti-trafficking initiative of DMSC, sex workers organization of West Bengal, India
D. Chowdhury, B. Dey, S. Jana, S. Mukhopadhyay, R. Steen
Issues: Involving community and development partners - in combating trafficking and enabling survivors of trafficking to lead a healthy life - is an ideal approach but to translate it into action is a challenge. Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC), a sex workers’ organization, from Kolkata, India, made this possible by ensuring participatory democracy in practice.
Description: DMSC to formalize its fight against trafficking launched Self Regulatory Board (SRB) in 1997 - as an innovative anti trafficking approach in sex work. The primary objective of SRB is to regulate new entry into sex work. 60% of the SRB members are from sex workers community and 40% representative from Social Welfare Department of Government of West Bengal, doctors, lawyers administrators and members of civil society organizations. Any new entrants to the sex work set ups are brought before SRBs who clarify their age, motives and process of entry. Girls below 18 yrs and unwilling entries identified through medical examination and counseling and not allowed to join sex work and are sent back home or rehabilitation centers.
Lessons learned: There are 33 SRBs operating presently. Eight are in Kolkata and 25 in other districts. 558 girls (84% below 18 yrs) were rescued during 1996-2007 and 497 sent back homes and 61 to rehabilitation centers. Number of minors in sex work decreased from 25% to 0.7% and mean age of sex workers increased from 22 yrs to 28 yrs in Sonagachi as compared between 1992 and 2001.
Next steps: Durbar’s SRB program of community-led anti-trafficking approach should be adopted and integrated with TI programs in sex work set ups in line with community based and community centric approaches of the third phase of National AIDS control Program of India.
AIDS 2008 - XVII International AIDS Conference (selected for poster presentation), Abstract no. THPE1084