Top 10 Wins #6: Indian Parliament Strikes Down Sex Work Criminalization

Each year IWHC issues a publication highlighting the “Top Ten Wins for Women’s Health and Rights” for that year. This week on Akimbo, we’ll be unveiling our latest picks for the top ten wins for women’s health and rights of 2009. Click here to view the list from last year.
In February, the Indian Parliament dropped the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Bill, which would have further stigmatized sex workers by criminalizing the purchase of sexual services. This is a major victory for advocates, who have been lobbying against the bill since its conception by India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2006. Our partner Sangram led an international coalition of women’s rights and sex worker advocates to advocate against this measure.

What’s next: Sex workers in India are among the most marginalized, and their access to healthcare is severely limited. Continued efforts are needed to promote coalition-building among sex workers, labor activists, and feminist activists for health and rights. Sangram and other grassroots human rights organizations are pushing the dialogue beyond vice and victimhood to support for the rights and health of sex workers worldwide. Bringing sex workers’ voices to the policy table is an essential component of sound rights-based based policy at the local, national, and international levels.

Find out more:

  1. View a video documenting SaNGRAM’s sex worker collectivization in rural India in honor of International Human Rights Day.
  2. Click here to read a blog by Meena Seshu, founder of SANGRAM, about the campaign to battle stigma and discrimination against sex workers in India


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