Active Bengaluru: Sex Workers Often Face Unlawful Detention and Severe Assault by the Police

In this episode, Sowmya, Renuka, and Salma share the harassment they regularly face by the police. 

Once, while on her way back to Bangalore from her daughter’s wedding, Sowmya was sitting on a bus when the police came in and pulled her out without any complaint. Even after she had begged that, “I will myself come to you later! Please leave me!” and even after the people at the site had questioned the police about the mistake for which she was being dragged away, the officers had persisted. “They hit me with a shoe and a stick. I thought of sharing everything with a TV news channel and approached a team. They told me to get a letter from the organisation where I work. After reaching the police station, they won’t even file an FIR and make us simply sit at the station till midnight and then let us out at an odd hour of the night. How are we supposed to safely get back home? This is the way they treat us! My question is, yes, I sell my body but does that mean I should be beaten up? I am not disturbing the public, neither has the public complained about me. Who are these police people to punish us?”

Salma says, “We usually come from very poor families and are already forced to deal with many social difficulties. We are involved in sex work voluntarily. Will this Obavva Police team come and pay my children’s school fees or my house rent?” 

Renuka, a member of a sexual minority group, says, “I wanted to study further, but people treated me badly and called me names. I somehow studied a bit, but no one is willing to give us any jobs. Even if they do, they harass us in many ways. Why go to a workplace like that and get treated badly? We would rather sell our bodies and be sex workers.”   

Listen in for more…

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