Saved at last: CSWs were sent to the Rescue Foundation at Hadapsar was the original caption on this photo. It went with a story the other day that recounted a rescue operation in Budhwar Peth, an area of Pune (Maharashtra, India) known for electronics shops and sex workers. The report said the workers were saved but recorded a couple of oddities: 1) the police got a translator but the women gave a fictitious address (there is more than one reason they might have done that) and 2) the police claim ‘medical tests’ will determine the women’s exact age (I don’t believe such a test exists yet).
Two days later, the sex workers are reported to have rioted at the rescue home. The person in charge there is not worried, because it has happened before and because she believes the girls are programmed to lie. True Rescue Ideology. It is quite possible, of course, that the women don’t want to do sex work, just as it is likely that they don’t want to be placed in a ‘home’.
Note: The redundant label CSW-commercial sex worker appears sometimes, though it is difficult to see what the word commercial adds to the meaning. If you call people workers, you imply they are doing a job in exchange for money, no?
Sex workers don’t want rescue, 23 October 2010, Mid-Day.com
21 sent to Pune shelter clamour to return to brothel, manhandle staff
More than a score commercial sex workers rescued on Wednesday and sent to a shelter in the city began a violent clamour last morning for a return ticket to brothel life. The demands began barely 24 hours since they were brought to the shelter, said Shaini Padiyare, in-charge of the Rescue Foundation home in Hadapsar that sheltered the 21 sex workers. At 9 am, all 21 sex workers stomped out and created a ruckus. They broke off the grill and engaged in a fight with the management. “The rescued sex workers began insisting on going back to Budhwar Peth,” she said.
Budhwar Peth is the red light district of the city and the sex workers were found at a brothel there. Nine of the rescued sex workers are believed to be minors, and all of them Bangladeshis.
In yesterday’s drama a member of the management suffered a minor injury on the arm. No sex worker was hurt. A case was registered at the Vanudi police station. “In major raids, initially such things happen,” said Padiyare. “In an earlier raid, when 46 girls were brought, the same thing had happened.”
The police suspect the sex workers were illegally brought into the country and forced into prostitution, though this could not be established from their statements taken after Wednesday’s raid as these were found to be misleading. “They are programmed to lie, so we don’t have correct information about them,” said Padiyare. “They even lie about their origin.” Padiyare said they were sure six of the sex workers were minors and these were produced before the Child Welfare Community.
Here is the original story:
Rescued sex workers confuse cops, 21 October 2010, Mid-Day.com
9 minors among 21 sex workers rescued; cops need Bengali translator’s services to take their statements
The police employed the services of a Bengali translator after they rescued 21 commercial sex workers (CSWs), nine of them minors, from a Budhwar Peth brothel yesterday evening.
Late in the night, the translator eventually found out that the information provided by the girls had many problems. PSI Sharmila Sutar, the investigating officer, said, “It was difficult to comprehend the address given by these girls. Many of them claimed to be from Khigirpur village in Autganj district of West Bengal. But this place is not in existence.” The brothel owners and the CSWs were later sent to the Rescue Foundation at Hadapsar.
“Medical test to know their exact age will be made after these girls will be brought before the court tomorrow,” said Sutar.
The police also arrested brothel owners Gauri Tamang and Reshma Tamang. Cases against Gauri Tamang (40) and Reshma Tamang (50) were filed under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1986 (PITA). Filing of charges continued even after the midnight at Faraskhana police station.
Acting on tip-off from anti-immoral trafficking activist Shyam Kamble from Marian Trust, ACP Ranjeet Dhure along with police inspector Rajendra Kadam of Khadak police station, PSI Sutar and others raided the ground floor of Sagar building in Budhwar Peth, the place where the brothel functioned.
According to police sources, most of the CSWs were brought to the city from Bangladesh illegally. Brothel keeper Gauri Tamang has been arrested before under similar charges. Of the rescued 21 sex workers, 10 of them seemed less than 16 years old.
Debi Walker, a women’s rights activist, said, “The brothel ‘madams’ had warned these girls not to approach the police. By creating horror stories about the police machinery, they wanted to prevent the girls from approaching the police station for any help.”
– Laura Agustín, the Naked Anthropologist