Establishing Basic Human Rights of Commercial Sex Workers (CSWs) and Protect them from Oppression and Exploitation

2015-06-30Partner: Manusher Jonno Foundation

Duration: August 2003 – March 2013

There prevails deep-rooted social stigma against the Sex Workers (SWs) and their children. They are consciously discriminated by the society in various ways.  There are about 4,500 brothel-based SWs in Bangladesh in 12 brothels of which 1,500 are available in Daulatdia brothel at Goalanda upazila in Rajbari district. 

     

PIACT Bangladesh, an NGO, launched a program in 2003 in Daulatdia brothel with the support from Manusher Jonno Foundation to establish basic human rights of SWs and protect them from oppression and exploitation, protecting under-aged girls from entering into sex business and obtaining social recognition of their human rights.

The approach to achieve the goal was through building their leadership capability and taking active role by them.  For this purpose, awareness of SWs and other stakeholders about the human rights of SWs was raised through workshop, continuous interaction and exposure visit to other brothels in and outside the country; organized a self-help group; formed a CBO of the SWs; built capacity of the CBO in respect of organizational and financial management.

The CBO formed by the SWs was named as "Abohelito Mohila O Shishu Unnayan Sangstha (AMOSUS)" which is being capacitated to graduate stepwise to run independently. 

The program is in its third phase now.  The first step, concentrated on awareness raising of SWs about human and citizen right through holding dialogues, workshop and meeting with SWs, brothel management, local community leaders, local administration, law enforcing agencies and clients.  All these activities created a favorable environment for realizing human rights of the SWs in Daulatdia brothel.  To ensure leadership and active role in the program activities, the CBO was formed and got registered with the Department of Social Services, Rajbari district on 28 April 2004.

In the second step, the capacity of SWs has been enhanced to manage their organization, generate fund through their regular subscriptions and income generation activities as well as from donors.

In the third and current step, AMOSUS in getting fund directly to their bank account and manage the program activities on their own.  They are holding regular meetings of the EC to make decision in running the program activities and mitigate their daily problems.  This effort of PIACT to make them self-reliant will continue up to December 2011 and at that point AMOSUS would be fully capacitated to realize the human rights of SWs, and they would live better and dignified life.  This phase also includes activities to demand human rights of SWs from the central level policy makers by AMOSUS along with SWs' Networks.

Major Activities of the Project:

The program began in 2003 and is in its third phase now, and will continue up to December 2011.  In phase-I (August 2003 – August 2005) the major activities were:

  • Organizing awareness raising/advocacy workshops on human rights of SWs with the SWs group, brothel management, babus and pimps, religious leaders, school, college and madrasha teachers and local administration, law enforcing agency and journalists.

  • The sex workers were motivated and inspired to form a group – a suitable platform to manage their affairs by themselves.  PIACT conducted orientation sessions and assisted them in the formation of "self-help group".

  • Helping the self-help group in forming an organization of their own involving all SWs namely "Abohelito Mohila O Shishu Unnayan Sangstha (AMOSUS)" in respect of setting organization objectives, goals, vision and activities; holding a general meeting of the members; formation of an 11 members Executive Committee (EC) through election; writing resolutions of meetings; preparation of constitution; guidelines of financial management, maintaining cash book, ledger book, vouchers, procurement procedures, etc.

  • Helping the AMOSUS in registering it with the Department of Social Services in Rajbari district as CBO.  It was registered on 28 April 2004.

  • Developing capacity of office bearers of AMOSUS providing them training on organizational development, financial management, leadership and motivation.

  • Organizing them for having social access such as admitting their children in the formal school and developing a graveyard for SWs with the participation of community people.  By now their children have been admitted in school like other normal children of the society.

Phase-II (September 2005 to August 2008) was a continuation of activities of phase-I with necessary changes/improvement based on lessons learned; enhanced capacity of the EC of AMOSUS in various ways, specially in organizational and financial management, leadership development, monitoring and supervision and report preparation, networking, fund raising, negotiation skills, troubleshooting and experience sharing with similar organizations of self-help groups namely `Durbar' at Sonagachi brothel in Kolkata.

In phase-III (September 2008 to December 2011) the roles and responsibilities of the program are being transferred to the management of AMOSUS.  The CBO is being directly financed by the project to capacitate them to implement program independently and get practical experience of organizational and financial management.  They will receive Tk. 18,53,629/- over a period of 36 months in installments and by now Tk. 7,15,626/- have been transferred to their account in 5 installments.  An accountant is working closely with them and building up their capacity on financial management and record keeping system. 

AMOSUS appointed all the local level staff namely community facilitator, counselor and peer organizer under their payroll.  They hold regular meeting of EC and yearly meeting of the general members.

Capacity of the common SWs is being developed through a right-based awareness raising and life skill development education for sustainable development of the SWs.  These activities are undertaken by the community facilitator organizing regular schooling sessions in the brothel.

Who We Are

What We Do

Program Areas
Education
HIV/AIDS
Livelihood

Our Mailling Address

PIACT Bangladesh
49/1 Babar Road, Block-B
Mohammadpur, Dhaka-1207
Bangladesh

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