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Brothels get a facelift ahead of CWG

Fancy tiles have replaced the otherwise paan-stained walls and English lessons are being given to the residents of a red light area in New Delhi ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

delhi Updated: May 30, 2010 15:49 IST

Fancy tiles have replaced the otherwise paan-stained walls and English lessons are being given to the residents of a red light area here ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

While the civic agencies are busy sprucing up the city ahead of the sporting carnival, the NGOs and owners of the brothels in Delhi's oldest red light area on GB road have taken it upon themselves to improve the living conditions as their repeated requests to officials have fallen on deaf ears.

Their joint effort appears to have paid off in many of the 84 brothels. While fancy tiles now decorate what were once stained walls, split air-conditioners, refrigerators and LCD TVs have appeared as the latest additions in these brothels which too hope to benefit from the Games extravaganza when thousands of tourists are expected to flock the capital.

While the 'maliks' (owners) themselves provide most of the money, funds have also come from National Network for Sex Workers which, in turn, is funded by the Ford Foundation.

Apart from renovating the brothels, non-voluntary organisations are also focusing on health and hygiene of the workers here.

"During the Commonwealth Games there is bound to be a surge in the clients (largely tourists) in the brothels.

"To ensure the safety of sex workers, we have been conducting a series of medical tests to identify those who are HIV positive and are in the process of providing counselling to them," says Anand Sharma of Savera Voluntary Organisation that works for the cause of the sex workers in the capital.

He adds, "Although these are tests that are conducted every once in a while, it has been strengthened and upgraded in view of the upcoming Games."

In addition to routine medical tests, the organisation also supplies medicines to sex workers free of cost and preventive treatment is given special emphasis.

Another NGO, Bhartiya Patita Udhar Samiti recently sent a letter to the External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad asking them to instruct Indian embassies abroad not to issue visa to any foreigner without a complete medical check-up to prove the visitor is HIV negative.

Khairathi Lal Bhola who heads BPUS believes that tourists bring "alien diseases to the country and the government must adopt measures to check it."

He says that tourists must be barred from entering GB Road in particular to ensure the safety of sex workers and to stop spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

First Published: May 30, 2010 15:00 IST