Saheli HIV/AIDS Karyakarta Sangh

Fellow: Tejaswi Sevekari & Anu Kaimal

Grant Year: 2019

Location: Maharashtra, India

Organization: Saheli HIV/AIDS Karyakarta Sangh

Project title: Protection of Rights of Sex Workers and Redressal of Complaints

Project summary: Saheli HIV/AIDS Karyakarta Sangh aims to improve the rights of sex workers and protect them from harassment. They help sex workers communicate their grievances and advocate with state decisionmakers who are currently unaware of the local realities. Their strategy is to open a positive and effective dialogue between Maharashtra State Police and a network of organizations advocating for the protection of sex workers’ rights in order to reduce police harassment. Through this collaboration, Saheli HIV/AIDS Karyakarta Sangh will create a strong, unified movement across Maharashtra to build momentum. Their goal is to advocate for Maharashtra State Police to sign an order to exclude sex workers from the Bombay Police Act provisions that are currently being used to allow harassment against sex workers. Female sex workers are integral to the strategic planning, implementation, and evaluation of the project. They will work as advisors, evaluators, as well as leaders in the community through peer learning and workshops. The network of organizations and sex workers themselves will advocate with Maharashtra Director General of Police Dattatray Padsalgikar to pass an order for all local police stations to exclude sex workers from Bombay Police Act 110 and 117, relating to indecent behavior and obscenity in a public place. This will protect the rights of sex workers and prevent harassment against them, which would directly benefit more than 30,000 sex workers in Maharashtra.