SANGRAM
Sampada Gramin Mahila Sanstha
 

Mission

People should believe that they can change things. It is not about a few activists fighting for other people’s rights. Anybody who has imbibed this understanding should be able to go and fight for their rights.

 
  Home Collectives About Us Resources Weblinks Gallery Videos Contact Us
 
“As people who experience violence as a part of our daily lives, we are being more and more penalised by increasing violence in a society that is trying to order and control our lifestyles. As women in prostitution we protest against a society that forces on us the violence of a judgmental attitude.”.

Stigmatization

which has its roots in the standards set by patriarchal morality, is experienced as the major factor that prevents women from accessing their rights. The lives of women in prostitution are particularly held hostage. Stigmatization impacts the lives of women in more ways than one. Some of the rights denied due to discrimination are: freedom from physical and mental abuse; the right to education and information; health care, housing; social security and welfare services.

The most basic of all is the denial of the right to practice the ‘business of making money from sex’. “We protest against a society that deems us immoral and illegal mainly because we do not accept its mores, rules and governance. We protest against the various forces of mainstream society that deny us the right to liberty, security, fair administration of justice, respect for our lives, discrimination, freedom of expression and association” declares the VAMP statement succinctly.

It is the randi [whore] stigma that pushes women-in-prostitution outside the rights framework, effectively cutting them off from privileges and rights supposedly accorded to all citizens irrespective of what they do for a living. Women in prostitution and sex-work from VAMP state that, `As people who experience violence as a part of our daily lives, we are being more and more penalised by increasing violence in a society that is trying to order and control our lifestyles. As women in prostitution we protest against a society that forces on us the violence of a judgmental attitude’.

VAMPS

In 1998, VAMP changed its name from Veshya AIDS Muqabla Parishad – to Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad. This smooth segue from ‘AIDS Muqabla’ to ‘Anyay Mukti’ is an important marker for a collective journey that began with a struggle against AIDS but has now broadened to seek liberation from oppression and injustice . “Now we feel that our work has expanded beyond merely HIV/AIDS prevention,” says Shabana Kazi, general secretary, VAMP. “We work holistically for the rights of women in prostitution and sex work.”

Where women in prostitution and sex work and sex work are concerned, the exercise of human rights is so limited that it is almost non-existent. In their daily lives, women in prostitution and sex work often do not have access to the full range of human rights that is everyone’s due – they are denied water and housing in the community, they are denied medical treatment at public hospitals, they face sexual violence and are routinely harassed by the police, and they are even denied fundamental citizenship rights, such as the right to vote. At a more basic level, women in prostitution and sex work and sex work (who are viewed as ‘prostitutes’) are denied even the most basic right – the right to be human. The right to be women.

If the rights of women in prostitution and sex work are routinely violated, women in prostitution and sex work who are HIV-infected face even greater infringements of their rights. They are often forcibly tested for HIV, they are not informed about their health status, and sometimes they are not given the right to die with dignity. In its July 2002 report Human Rights Watch has documented the police abuse of women and men in prostitution and sex work in India during HIV outreach work, through beatings, forced sex, extortion, trumped-up charges & arrests.

While women in prostitution and sex work face a range of human rights violations on a daily basis, the state mechanisms of justice and redressal do not acknowledge these as human rights violations. The State just does not acknowledge that women in prostitution and sex work are human beings or women with the same rights claims as others. In this context, it is practically impossible for women in prostitution and sex work to articulate or access their rights – let alone assert, exercise or enjoy them.

VAMP and SANGRAM enable women in prostitution and sex work to access their rights through:

  • Local actions
  • Advocacy campaigns
  • Training
  • Dialogue
  • Networking
  • Collaborations

A key principle behind any action is ensuring that the voices of women in prostitution and sex work are heard. “The traditional problem is that they have not been heard at all,” “To be heard is to count.” In a context where societies usually listen to only those voices that matter, for a woman in prostitution and sex work to speak out becomes an act of revolution – and the first step in accessing her rights.

Page 1|2|3 
Copyright 2009, SANGRAM All Rights Reserved Admin Login Designed By Intellect systems