In this episode, we feature a discussion between Manjula, Padma, and Diamond, who belongs to a sexual minorities community. They swap personal instances of the violence they routinely face at the hands of the police.
“We simply can’t go near the Majestic area, or be out with relatives, or go to a temple. If I encounter a police official, I inform them that, Sir, I have not come to do sex work, I have simply come to the temple to pray. They don’t listen to me, instead they take me to the police station and hit me very badly,” recounts Manjula. “I have collected all the reports from my doctor and kept them with me. This type of harassment is what we face regularly. We can’t guess when or for what reason the police may suddenly drag us in public, even when we are with friends or relatives. Yes, we do sex work! Earlier, at least, we would be produced in front of a court and be made to pay a fine. But, now, they take us to the station, make us pay a fine and don’t give us a slip. They also make us wait at the station for a very long time. They send us out at odd hours during which we don’t get a vehicle to travel back home in.”
“We have also not chosen sex work without thought. My husband died early and I had two children to feed. I didn’t get any support from either family and I had to pick this work.”
Padma agrees. Even she chose this work as she didn’t have any support. She was exploited and suffered sexual harassment while working in the garment industry, and her salary had not been enough to take care of her children.
Diamond recalls how they are often made to remove their clothes and show their private parts. “They put hands inside our blouses and take away the money. Yes, we were assigned as male at birth, but I am a woman. I would like to present myself as a woman. My family members threw me out of my house; my community members gave me a space to lead my life in. We are often taken and dumped in a beggars’ colony. They have forgotten that we are also human beings!”
Listen in for more…