Lives of 12,000 sex workers of Sonagachhi are fraught with challenges during this phase of restricted movements in the city. Though free ration is being distributed, many who used to send money to their families are feeling helpless. Early vaccination is their only hope and KMC officials have now identified an urban primary health centre nearby to start the drive for sex workers in the 18-45 age bracket.
KMC will set up a team of doctors and has roped in local coordinator Sunanda Sarkar and counsellors to motivate sex workers to take the jab.Dancer Avirup Sengupta’s NGO Prayas, supported by actor Rituparna Sengupta, distributed groceries, sanitary napkins and other daily essentials to 100 sex workers in the Kalighat red-light area on Sunday as part of their initiative Punnya Patra. These women have been out of work since the Covid-19 restrictions were implemented. The team also gave out milk, bread and biscuits to 40 kids in the area. The initiative was supported by Ballygunge Siksha Sadan principal Sunita Sen, designer Papri Jain and several other social volunteers.
Bishakha Laskar, president of Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee’s central committee, said she was keeping in touch with the civic health team. “Initially, a section of sex workers was reluctant to take the shot. But now a majority have been convinced,” she said.
Protim Ray, senior medical officer of DMSC, said, “We have sent names of over 3,500 girls to the department of Women and Child Development and Social Welfare.”
According to DMSC secretary Kajol Bose, this year has seen no Covid case in Sonagachhi. Shashi Panja, minister for Women and Child Development and Social Welfare, told TOI, “Sex workers have been included on the superspreaders’ list. We have collected the data and vaccination will start once KMC is ready.”
An estimated 6,000-7,000 girls from Sonagachhi have gone home and business is down with few clients dropping by.
Source: Times of India