The election commission is planning to launch a special drive to enrol sex workers in the voters’ list ahead of the Delhi assembly elections later this year. To ensure sex workers are comfortable sharing their personal details while applying for a voter identification card, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) is planning to involve more women to carry out the process of enrolment.
“We are trying to have more female staff to carry out all the enrolment work, including clicking the photographs. A number of sex workers are illiterate and we have told our staff to fill up their forms,” said a senior official.
According to the officials, the need for these special measures arose as a number of sex workers refrain from going to voter centres to enrol themselves on their own.
“We had noticed in the past that these women generally avoid going to general enrolment centres. Realising that they might not be able to come to these centres voluntarily, we decided to reach out to them,” added the official.
Officials said a camp is likely to be organised next week in central district, which includes GB Road — the city’s red light area.
“These special camps are going to be held shortly and central district has been asked to make all the arrangements. We want to ensure that their names are added in the electoral rolls, making them eligible for casting their votes in the upcoming assembly elections this year,” said Vijay Dev, chief electoral officer (CEO).
NGOs working for the rights of sex workers have welcomed the move. “We welcome the step but they must ensure that the data is not misused by anyone to harass these women. While issuing the card, proper verification of age should be conducted as well since the brothel-owner can furnish wrong age,” said Rishikant, of Shaktivahini, an NGO.