Movement and migration of human beings across national and international borders is not new. Globally, a large number of people migrate from their places of origin seeking better livelihood opportunities and for other reasons. People who migrate also do so because there is a demand for their labour in the destination countries/sites. Such (often illegal) labour are cheap as they are always at the mercy of their recruiters who can easily get them evicted if they are organised or protested against exploitative trade practices or demand proper wages and/or benefits. As in other sectors, this demand for cheap labour from outside destination zone (be it cross-border or within-country) is present in the sex sector as well; in addition, majority of labour that come in through irregular channels are people who come from low socio-economic backgrounds with little or no literacy and limited skills. Migration to unknown areas/countries by poor people, without proper travel permits or adequate knowledge is often with the help of unscrupulous persons or groups-who traffic unsuspecting people seeking better opportunities from sites of origin to destination sites. This 'unofficial' migration of people is well known and has been going on for a long time. Recent evidence suggests that in response to the increased demand for labour, and for other causes including loss of traditional livelihoods due to globalisation, trafficking of human beings have intensified. Addressing this critical issue, in particular, its impact on the sex sector, requires innovative approaches and strategies.
Ever since 1997, when DMSC activists articulated the issue at the First National Conference of Sex Workers, the Organisation has grappled with the problem of underage girls trafficked into sex work sites and of unwilling women duped/coerced/forced into sex work. DMSC is active in addressing and challenging the structural issues that frame the everyday reality of sexworkers lives as they relate to their material deprivation and social exclusion. From this standpoint, it stands against any form of exploitation and infringement of rights of human beings that includes sexworkers and their children. DMSC is explicit, too, about its stand vis-a-vis forced or coerced labour in any form- if sexwork is work like any other, then it must be subject to certain norms and conditions- decided upon and enforced by the workers in the trade- that must be fulfilled before anyone can start as a sexworkers. Hence, DMSC is strictly against trafficking of minor girls and unwilling adult women into sex sector. It is also DMSC's experience that Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act (ITPA), as enforced by police, is insufficient to combat this trafficking with any great success. Therefore, DMSC felt the need to constitute Self-regulatory Boards (SRBs) in the sex work sites. DMSC reasoned that these SRBs would serve as a double check to prevent entry of minor girls and unwilling adult women into sex sector, control the exploitative practices in the sector, regulate the rules and practices of the sector and institute social welfare measures for sexworkers and their children. DMSC also reasoned that illegal movement of people across international borders maybe prevented (to some extent) by enforcement agencies and border police, but intra-country movement cannot be prevented in this fashion. Moreover, there is no existing effective mechanism to combat trafficking in destination (or sex work) sites and only a committed group of sexworkers could prevent entry of trafficked underage girls or unwilling women into sex sector.