Posts tagged ‘India’
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!
Text taken directly from Avahan…
Avahan, the India AIDS Initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was begun in 2003 with the National AIDS Control Program and other donors to curtail the spread of HIV in India. In the first five years, Avahan designed and operated its programs in six states in India (Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Nagaland and Manipur), which have a combined population of 300 million people. At the end of the first five years Avahan provided prevention services to nearly 220,000 female sex workers, 80,000 high-risk men who have sex with men and transgenders, and 18,000 injecting drug users, together with 5 million men at risk.
Emerging evaluation results from this large scale HIV prevention program have just been published in a special peer-reviewed supplement of Sexually Transmitted Infections that can be accessed at http://sti.bmj.com/content/86/Suppl_1. In the papers you will find details and measurement issues related to rate of scale up, costs, quality measures, multiple approaches to condom use, and modeled estimates of infections averted. All twelve papers and the six accompanying editorials are open access. (more…)
To celebrate International Human Rights Day the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC), SANGRAM, and rural Indian sex worker advocates have released a new short film. The film explores how the creation of a grass roots sex worker collective has helped improve access to health commodities and services, spread information on and understanding of human rights, created spaces for broader discussions on women’s health and rights and facilitated political advocacy.
A recent discussion about sex work from the AIDS INDIA e FORUM provides an insight into how the laws to control and regulate sex work in India are viewed by various stakeholders.
The AIDS INDIA e FORUM is a virtual organization responding to the HIV and AIDS crisis in India, by connecting the key stake holders together. This FORUM facilitates networking, communication and collaboration among those who are involved or interested in HIV and AIDS related issues in India. One of its main functions is a moderated email list through which members share information and mobilise around issues of common interest.
The discussion was prompted by the defeat of a new law to regulate sex work – the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Amendment Bill. According to Tripti Tandon of the Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit the Bill:
‘Intended to shift legislative policy on sex work from tolerance to prohibition. This was sought to be done through the introduction of a new offence of visiting a brothel, which would penalise clients. It also sought to broaden the meaning of prostitution to include all transactional sex, as opposed to acts involving exploitation on a commercial scale.
By inserting a definition of trafficking for prostitution, the bill attempted to criminalise poverty induced sex work. Other changes included lowering rank of Police authorized to arrest, search and raid brothels and extending detention of sex workers to seven years. Sex workers vehemently opposed these measures which, they believed, would offset any positive effect of decriminalizing soliciting.’ (more…)
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.