Hyderabad: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday, made a U-turn on its decision to recognise sex workers as 'informal workers'. Its previous decision was to direct the government for guareented financial aid for sex workers amid the fallout of COVID-19. Now, the new statement from the watchdog said that sex workers instead be given help on 'humanitarian grounds'.

Earlier, on October 7, it had released an advisory that said 'sex workers may be recognised as informal workers and should be registered to be able to avail benefits from the government'. It also said that 'migrant sex workers may be included in schemes and benefits for migrant workers'.

Sunitha Krishnan, an eminent human rights activist known for her fight against sex crimes and trafficking of women and children and founder of Prajwala, welcomed the modified advisory by the NHRC.

"A person's dignity and liberty is outside sex work as this trade is intrinsically exploitative and is essentially a human rights violation. Any existing sex work should have sustainable exit options," said Sunitha Krishnan.

She added that the humanitarian aid given for sex workers has not changed as they will be treated on par with informal workers.

People who are pro sex work believe in legitimising sex work and then there are us who believe that sex work is fundamentally flawed and has only sustained oppressive systems. We believe all relief should pave for rehabilitation, she added.

However, a few organisations have said that not recognising sex work as a formal or an informal work will cause problems in getting sex workers full access to various citizenship documents and rights to social and development schemes.


Sumit Kumar Jha

Sumit Kumar Jha is currently a multimedia journalist with NewsMeter. An alumnus of the University of Hyderabad and Amity University, he has interned with The New Indian Express and CGNet Swara. He is specialised in Video Production. He was also a contributor at PARI network. Hailing from rural Bihar has spent his childhood shifting from places and people. Growing up he felt the need to document the lives and dreams of rural India. A lover of visual storytelling goes around the cities to search for Stories. He primarily reports on civic, consumer, health, human interest and data stories. You can follow Sumit on Twitter @sumitjha__

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