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Psychologist Aanchal Narang has started a fundraiser to provide facilities to Mumbai sex workers during the lockdown. Here’s how you can contribute to it.
The coronavirus outbreak has affected everyone across the world. Everyone right from the rich to the poor is affected by the pandemic. But some are a little more at risk than others.
Safety, health, and economic inequalities are going to affect women the hardest. Especially sex workers. At times of lockdown, their way of earning is at stake and for them, Aanchal Narang seeks your help.
Aanchal Narang is a Mumbai based psychologist. She identifies as a queer psychologist. For years she has worked for the LGBTQIA, people dealing with substance use, child sexual abuse, grief management, anxiety, depression, body image, and violence.
The scenario that coronavirus lockdown will affect the sex workers in a very brutal way made her start a fundraiser. This fundraiser is in collaboration with an NGO called Prerana. They work to end intergenerational prostitution and to protect women and children from the threats of human trafficking. All this is to defend their rights and dignity, provide them with a safe environment, support their education and health and leading major advocacy efforts.
The fundraiser will work to provide kits and essential services to the sex workers in the red light areas of Mumbai. In her kit, Aanchal said they will be providing- one soap, one sanitiser and a mask. They will also be giving out a Ration Relief kit which has three kilos of rice, three kilos wheat flour and three kilos of dal.
Before we go to why? It is very important to understand the concept of privilege. The question that whether a pandemic like Corona will affect you or not is determined by your privilege.
For example, if you are an upper-caste, middle-class man, you have the liberty to either work from home or get leave with pay. In both the scenarios you can get enough money to buy pharmaceutical and basic essential commodities for survival.
Additionally, in an orthodox environment, the chances of you being discriminated against and denied the essentials are none thanks to your caste. Also even if you don’t get money for a month, you can survive the month on your savings. All this because you belong to the middle class consisting of a well to do community.
Now that is what privilege is.
On the other hand, if we talk about the marginalised communities, they don’t have this kind of social and economic stability. So if coronavirus hits them, they are a more likely to succumb to it. All of this because of lack of privilege
Now the sex workers belong the category referred to as the ‘Sub-Altern.’ They are discriminated in two phases. First, they belong to the originally discriminated category of women and transgenders. Secondly, they are discriminated based on their profession.
A sex worker on a maximum amount earns Rs. 10,000 per month in India. There is very little possibility that they saved money, as most of them depend on their brothels for basic necessities.
Apart from this they also are highly under debt. So at the time of a lockdown, their income is completely stopped as all of it is met through social contact. Hence paying for basic necessities is a big task for them.
Also at the time of crisis, there are chances that their brothel might disregard them. In conditions like ‘survival of the fittest’ for distribution of resources, they might even neglect the older women. They can no longer aid a lot to business in future so why waste essential resources on them during the crisis.
Sadly the government provisions also don’t bring any economic relief specifically for prostitutes. Hence, the fundraiser started by Aanchal holds important ground.
Apart from economic disparity the community also faces social biases. They have an increased vulnerability to the disease. Majorly due to the higher use of tobacco than the general population. The higher rates of HIV also is a reason for their compromised immune systems. Making them succumb to Corona more than the privileged mass.
Due to their profession, they also often experience discrimination. Majorly from providers and staff in many healthcare settings. Something that the urban elite and middle classes will scramble to scoop up. All this makes them reluctant to seek medical treatment.
The fundraiser that began with an initial goal of two lakh rupees was welcomed very well by the people. And while, it did reach the initial goal of two lakh Rupees just yesterday, the more the better.
You can support Aanchal help the sex workers of Kamathipura by donating here.
Image credit – DNAINDIA
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