But traffickers, madams, brothel managers and pimps should not be conflated with sex workers by HELP from AP and Sanjog of Tafteesh (National Wide Coalition) partners

Tafteesh, a coalition of human rights activists, survivor leaders, lawyers and researchers, welcomes the advisory of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) which recommended that sex workers be recognised as informal workers so that they can access to all benefits and services as equal citizens of this country.

While the directive is an encouraging development towards recognizing and affirming the welfare and human rights of sex workers, one of the most marginalized communities not only in India but all over the world, it is deeply disturbing to see the letter to NHRC by Ms Sunitha Krishnan of Prajwala asking the Commission to desist from categorizing sex work under the category of informal labour or “work” and recognise it as slavery and violence against women. We consider this moralistic objec as an attack on ther ights of vulnerable communities like the sex workers.

We, as Tafteesh, support the NHRC’s call for decriminalisation of sex workers and recognising them as informal labour. However, we call for criminalisation of madams, brothel managers, brothel owners and pimps, who exploit sex workers for debt bondage. We firmly believe that traffickers, brothel managers, brothel owners and pimps should not be conflated with sex workers.We also believe that recognition of sex workers as informal labour on the one hand and criminalisation of brothel owners, madams, pimps and sex traffickers on the other will empower sex workers against her exploiters.