Friday, May 18, 2012

An unique hot-spot for commercial sex work

Yesterday I visited a Targeted Intervention Project of FSWs after four long years and got a shock of my life after seeing one of the hot-spots of the project in Delhi.

The place is located in one of the filthiest garbage-dumping areas of Delhi with a canal passing by that carries black turry water mixed with all types of biological wastes of the world. We crossed that area in a complete adventurous mode through the mud and garbage and along the edge of the canal with every chance to slip and fall down into the dirty water of the canal. The hot-spot is located at the back portion of garbage area which is actually a large deserted jungle area with almost no visible human movement inside. The FSWs and clients somehow manage to sneak into that area through the heaps of garbage and mud from late morning till evening.

The FSWs generally carry a large plastic sheet with them. The sheet is spread in the convenient location between the bushes and trees for the sexual act. The only witnesses of their activities are some moving stray dog inside the jungle.

We found thousands of used condoms lying almost in all the places between the trees denoting safe sex practice by the FSWs and their clients. The cops have absolutely no idea about these activities as we were reported, so the women who hail mostly from East Delhi and UP don't have to remain worried for administrative vigilance and legal hassles. But there is chance of snake-bite, as I know jungles of Delhi like this have big poisonous snakes (mostly Cobra). When I asked about it, the women agreed, but thankfully, there is no case of snake-bite till now.

The jungle is equally filled with litter that is often brought by gushing wind from the near-by garbage spot. I just failed to understand how those clients (I saw quite a few of them, moving silently in the jungle, mostly young men in their early twenties. The FSWs looked relatively older, in their mid thirties/early forties) grow desire to have sex inside that filthy place with litter lying all-around. Some of the men, I saw were also boozing in the jungle as if they had a picnic over there.

It was truly a queer experience. I visited many hot spots including dingy lanes of Sonagachi, exotic big brothels of Indonesia, massage parlors/night clubs of Thailand and Bali, chaotic GB Road of Delhi, open field brothel of Durgapur, West Bengal, cruising points of MSWs and street-walkers in various places. But this one that I visited yesterday was unique in the sense that the place is damn difficult to reach, and in true sense, with all due respects to those sex workers and their clients, only animals can do sex in those places, not humans.

I gave a big thank to the outreach worker of the project who is responsible for that particular hot-spot, a girl, doing her graduation, who is tremendously enthusiastic and devoted in her work. She has engaged the FSWs strongly with the project activities. She also ensures condoms that have been supplied uninterruptedly to the FSWs by the project are being properly and adequately utilized by them.
We already saw their extensive usage in the jungle through the used ones scattering almost in every nook and corner of the place.

India is gradually overcoming the challenges of HIV with gradual decline of prevalence in many places of the country. The gallant efforts to confine the HIV transmission within the population of so called ‘high risk groups’ through the Targeted Intervention (TI) approaches under the National AIDS Control Program of the country has been showing the good results now.

Sugata M

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