Context | Objective | Composition | Impact

Preventing trafficking of women and under-age girls into sex work:
Sex workers are uniquely positioned as they live and work in sex work sites and are first to know when a minor girl has been brought into a brothel/sex work site; and the place/house/brothel where she is held. Consequently, they are in the best position to speak with the concerned brothel-manger and other stakeholders on prevention of minors from entering the sector. They are also specially placed to meet and interact with the trafficked girl, to win her confidence, to know her place of origin (address) and to discuss options open to her in a fair manner. Additionally, Self-regulatory Boards present in each sex work site are uniquely positioned to intervene in, and prevent trafficking into sex work, minor girls and unwilling women from any part of the country and the world. The mechanism operative in the borders to prevent trafficking for sex-work intervenes only at international level (e.g., at the border between Bangladesh and India or Nepal and India). No such mechanism is either present or possible to prevent inter-district or inter state trafficking. However, as the self-regulatory boards are located in the sex work site, trafficking from district or state level can be monitored and entry of underage girls and unwilling women into the sex sector can be prevented, irrespective of their place of origin.

Changing inefficient laws controlling sex work:
The police use provisions of Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act of the Government of India primarily to raid sex work sites indiscriminately and arrest or 'pick' women from streets and brothels on the charge that they are all 'minors'. Once these women are brought to the local police station, they are forced to pay for their release or are harassed further. Active and running Self-regulatory Boards prevent this from happening.

Stopping exploitation in sex trade:
Self-regulatory Boards act as controlling bodies in sex work sites have put an end to exploitative practices that range from exploitative contractual agreements through violence and sexual exploitation by local men, power-brokers and hoodlums, to financial exploitation of sex workers by madams/ pimps or moneylenders.

Carrying out social welfare measures for sexworkers and their children:
Self-regulatory boards have heterogeneous membership. Apart from members of DMSC, each board has the local councillor/ panchayat representative, local doctor, local lawyers (if available) and any other community leader/influential person who is willing to participate. This group is therefore in a position to demand social welfare schemes, oversee government works undertaken in sex work sites and see that social welfare measures reach the target group including children and retired sex workers. The Board acts, as a pressure group, and is able to pressurize the government to allot and undertake various welfare and development activities for the betterment of sexworkers and their children. These activities include adult literacy classes, children's education and handicrafts and skills training.

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