AP: Without proof of identity, social assistance programs are beyond the reach of sex workers | Vijayawada News

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VIJAYAWADA: While a majority of registered sex workers have ration cards, many do not have any type of proof of identity, including ration cards, and struggle to benefit from social assistance programs. state government. Interestingly, about 4.8% of registered sex workers don’t even have an Aadhaar card, according to data from the Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (APSACS).

However, NGOs working for the rehabilitation of sex workers claim that the figures available from the government are far lower than the actual number in the state. Unregistered sex workers are not covered by any state government social assistance scheme because they do not have proof of identity such as an Aadhaar card, voter card or bank account, N said. Rammohan, secretary of Help, an NGO working for the rehabilitation of sex. workers.
Rammohan said the government only recognizes sex workers who have used APSACS drugs as part of the HIV program or for sexually transmitted diseases. But the actual number of female sex workers in the state would be more than double the recognized number, as many of them do not come close to APSACS, he said. The state government should enumerate sex workers through community organizations (CBOs) like Vimukti, in order to provide rations to sex workers without requiring a ration card, as ordered by the Commission. Supreme Court in its recent judgment, Rammohan said.
B Sunitha (name changed), a sex worker from Addanki, said she applied for a ration card about two years ago but has yet to get the card. “It has become more and more difficult to feed my two children, especially after the pandemic. Repeated requests to local authorities to provide a ration card have yet to yield any results, ”she said.
V Lakshmi (name changed), a 29-year-old sex worker from Vijayawada, has to care for her two daughters after her husband leaves her. Her request for a ration card was rejected because her name was included in the system along with that of her husband. She said a ration card is the basic identity to be eligible for any welfare scheme, but her application has been pending for more than two years. V Priya (name changed), from Guntur, also told a similar story of her refusal of her ration card application because her name was part of her husband’s family, who abandoned her about five years ago.


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