The methodology applied for the study was followed through the Peer Education Model of deriving and imparting information related to the issues of police harassment, legal awareness; interview guide and social mapping was also applied with the NGOs, Lawyers, Police, Community Members, Lodge Owners and on convenient basis the Rickshaw drivers and Pan Shop Keepers were the main participants in the study. The student volunteers carried out the desk review of the ITPA.
The main suggestions through the desk review of ITPA and the baseline assessment:
1. There is a need to provide sufficient number of Short Stay Homes/Protective Homes/ Shelter Homes at Taluka and district levels whereby any women who is in moral danger could approach these homes for a safe and secure shelter.
2. The Government should appoint trained social workers at police stations, courts and rehabilitation homes for the purpose of counselling, information and guidance and rehabilitation.
3. There need to be inter-departmental coordination structure set up to facilitate and monitor the process of rescue and rehabilitation at the district level, and an advisory body at the Central and State level respectively needs to monitor the trafficking incidences.
4. Training organisations at Central and State level need to focus on sensitisation, dissemination of knowledge especially the ground level staffs of the neighbourhood police station, judiciary and the women and child welfare department.
5. According to the said Act - Section 13.2(b), with two decades of enactment of the law and several directives from the Supreme Court, the formation of advisory body consisting of social workers to help the Special Police Officer in the Red Light Area has not been materialised.
6. Task force in all major cities need to effectively coordinate activities for the prevention, suppression, rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of female sex workers and girl child from being commercially and sexually exploited. This Task Force has not been formed as provided in National Plan of Action.
7. There is a growing need to establish the State Advisory Committee under Section 13 (B) of ITPA. It is noticed that Anti Trafficking and Prevention Cells in High Risk areas have not been formed in accordance to National plan of Action.
Prosecution requires that sex workers testify against traffickers and third parties like pimps and brothel owners. Since the livelihood of these women depend on these third parties, they are extremely unwilling to do so, which makes their prosecution almost impossible. The proposed amendments (2006) to the Act do not address the complications related to this issue at all.
The provision to punish clients visiting brothels under the new Section 5C threatens the very survival of sex workers. In order to support children and families, the sex workers may be compelled to accept any client who comes their way, notwithstanding health and safety concerns. Furthermore, sex work will be pushed underground, making it difficult for us to access HIV/AIDS prevention services. Regrettably, the Act Amendment Bill in its present form ignores this simple but profound reality.
Section 13 (2) of the Act proposes to give the powers of Special Police Officer under the Act from the Inspector of Police to the Sub-Inspector. With such amendments there is a growing alarm amongst the sex workers that such changes may give the local police additional power to harass them. Thus the police powers under the law should be brought under scrutiny.
The amendment does not alter definition of the term "brothel" as a place "for the mutual gain of two or more prostitutes". This clause converts commercial sex workers who work voluntarily, into criminals who have to be penalised. The proposed amendment enhances their punishment, thus increasing their stigmatised and marginalised position in the society.
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