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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Bengal govt to rehabilitate retired sex workers

PTI  Kolkata, December 23, 2013
First Published: 09:54 IST(23/12/2013) | Last Updated: 10:04 IST(23/12/2013)

Retired sex workers from Asia's largest red-light district of Kolkata's Sonagachi, who are forced to live a life of penury after falling out of favour with customers because of advanced age, would soon be rehabilitated in a new home.

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As part of the West Bengal government's plan to rehabilitate disabled, sick and old sex workers living in Kolkata, two buildings would house the rehabilitation centres which would have all facilities including food, clothing, shelter and healthcare.

"The idea is to give them a home to spend the rest of their lives with dignity and comfort," Sashi Panja, parliamentary secretary to women and social welfare department, told PTI.

Under the instructions of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, she did a survey in Sonagachi and found around 750 such old sex workers.

Having poor access to health care facilities, sex workers have high HIV infection rates.

"Many of them are ill and have no source of income left. Some are forced to beg. There is no one to take care of them. Under this programme, we will give them free medical facilities, health cards and ration at free of cost or at subsidised rates," she said.

The state cabinet has already cleared a proposal to set up two such rehab homes for around 200 such sex workers. The project would be undertaken by the state Social Welfare Department.


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