SWFF @ Home
Unfortunately, there was a 24-hour taxi strike in Kolkata and so I could not attend yesterday’s sessions or watch the great performances given in the afternoon. I could have made it to the venue by bus but would have been unable to get back to my friend’s place who lives far from the venue. However, since the organisers of the SWFF set up a livestream from the main Rangmanch hall, I was able to follow several of the presentations, and here are three quotes for you from yesterday.
“Sex workers couldn’t register as citizens and weren’t able to open a bank account. Unofficial money lenders and other locals exploited them. Due to sex workers’ low financial security, there was a higher prevalence of sex workers having unprotected sex and STIs. The Usha Multipurpose Co-operative Society Limited started off with 12 members. Today, Usha has 17,000 members. We offer higher interest for savings and low cost loans. Usha is a bank for sex workers made by sex workers.” Rita Roy, USHA Cooperative, INDIA
For further information please visit the DMSC website and learn more about USHA.
“African sex workers are mothers. We support our families, we use our own money to pay for education or renting houses. We are people, we are sex workers, we know our needs and challenges better than others. Nothing about us, without us! We want sex workers to plan and implement programmes.” Hajira Batte, Lady Mermaids Bureau, UGANDA
During the presentation of Ger Steenbergen (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NETHERLANDS) the audio was muted. (?) However, chairperson Tracey Tully (APNSW, THAILAND) summarised that he had highlighted the importance of self-determination of sex workers.
“Sex workers’ allies must remain allies and must not attempt to take over their organisations! Programmes must be planned and implemented by sex workers.” Tracey Tully, APNSW, THAILAND
Please visit the APNSW Facebook page to view photos from yesterday’s performances by Dale.Bangkok.