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Change in profession: Sex workers package incense sticks amid COVID-19 pandemic in Mumbai's Bhiwandi

Free Press Journal 2020-06-26 20:39:15

Mumbai: Sex workers from Bhiwandi red light area are facing financial crisis as their work is completely shut down in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Trying to help them amid this crisis, a Bhiwandi based NGO has employed these sex workers in packaging incense sticks.

The nationwide lockdown enforced to curb the spread of coronavirus has made life difficult for sex workers in Hanuman tekdi located at Aasbibi road, Bhiwandi.

The sex workers and their families here are facing difficulties. However, NGO, Shree Saiseva Sanstha who works for women, has been providing meals to these sex workers even as the situation is grim during the lockdown.

Doctor Swati Khan, founder of Saiseva Sanstha said, "We had distributed food to around 565 women at Hanuman tekdi area. However, it will be very difficult for them to survive as the lockdown is continuing and police are not allowing them to do their job during the pandemic."

Swati Khan further said that sex workers approached us and asked us for some work during the pandemic period. We have the list of 130 sex workers who willingly wanted to work. With help of the tahsildar and few businessmen, we are providing them the job of packaging of incense sticks in Bhiwandi.

Around 25 sex workers were given training and are now getting a daily wage of Rs 210. This work is totally contrary to their work, it might be difficult for them to do. Therefore, we have kept this on a trial basis and selected only 25 sex workers. They all have been working in the red light area and maintaining social distancing at the workplace, Khan added.

Rani Khan, who is a sex worker said, "Due to coronavirus, our community does not have any source of income. Following which, we requested to Swati madam about the job. Now, we are feeling good."