Posts tagged ‘CASAM’
by Kate Hawkins
Last Monday, the UK Independent newspaper published a story about a new film called “Prostitutes of God” as one of its main online news stories. Made by a former Independent journalist, the film for VBS TV, is a sensationalist view through very western eyes of the devadasi system – which is equated with pimping, trafficking and abuse.
Within hours, sex workers in Sangli had begun watching the film, which was serialised in parts on the Internet over the course of the week. They were furious at the way they were portrayed, at the ethics of the film-maker, and of the misrepresentation of their lives and their religion. Their collective, VAMP, sent their community media unit out to film responses to the film.
This brief (3.5) minute clip is VAMP’s response to “Prostitutes of God”.
VAMP present their incisive views about sex work; religion and faith; livelihoods; issues of consent; ethics and cross-cultural sensitivities while making documentary films.
In the age of the Internet, people who used to be the objects of white people’s gaze with no right of reply now have access to the representations that are made of them, and the technological means to answer back. A westerner may seize the headlines, but there’s now scope for there to be a debate and to bring those who in the past would have remained voiceless victims into that debate to represent themselves. It is a great opportunity to put the record straight.
This clip has been produced by Sangli Talkies, the newly-launched video unit of SANGRAM / VAMP. Watch it on you tube!
From March 12-14 sex workers and violence against women advocates met in Bangkok, Thailand. The ‘Ain’t I a Woman?’ meeting aimed to forge stronger connections between sex workers’ and violence against women’s movements.
The dialogue was organised by CREA (Creating Resources for Empowerment in Action, India) and PLRI partner CASAM.
One outcome of the meeting was the conceptualisation of a campaign titled ‘Ain’t I a Human? Where are We?’ The campaign aims to bring violence against women within the purview of human rights, labour rights and international organisations and donors. The campaign, which will be virtual, will involve:
* A secondary research study on violence against women initiatives to look for gaps in relation to sex workers’ rights and to make suggestions based on this research;
* The production of a briefing paper on sex workers’ rights that can be used as an advocacy tool nationally and globally;
* A petition and open letter on sex workers’ rights that can be sent to international organisations, donors and the media;
* The generation of greater awareness in the public sphere on sex workers’ rights through creative media such as film clips, print media and interactive websites.
Kathambi Kinoti has written a report of the meeting for the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) website.
After months of speculation and stress, sex workers rights advocates have reason to celebrate this International Sex Workers Rights Day. Last week, the Cabinet failed to approve an amendment to India’s Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Bill that would have further stigmatized sex workers by criminalizing the purchase of sexual services.
PLRI member Meena Seshu from CASAM has been featured on a number of blogs explaining more about the Bill and the negative consequences of criminalising the clients of sex workers.