Supreme Court orders government to provide food, livelihood assistance to sex workers


New Delhi: The Supreme Court has directed the central government to provide for food, money and other assistance to commercial sex workers who have suffered loss of livelihood due to the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown in the country for the last six months.


The Supreme Court has issued these directions while hearing an application filed by the Durbar Women’s Coordinating Committee NGO. The application highlighted the hardships that commercial sex workers (CSW) are facing due to the coronavirus pandemic. A petition was filed in the court seeking relief for 9 lakh CSW across the country.


Citizens from all walks of life in the country and society are facing trouble due to COVID19 lockdown. A major crisis of employment and livelihood has arisen in front of the small business workers. Although the lockdown norms have been relaxed now and the situation is returning to normalcy, CSWs are still neglected and society is not paying much attention to them.


Senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing for the NGO in court, said 96 per cent of the 1.2 lakh sex workers in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Telangana have lost their livelihood and no means of livelihood and were unable to earn a living during the lockdown period.


The Kolkata-based NGO has said in its argument that under Article 21 of the Constitution, CSW also have the right to live with dignity in society. They are human beings like others and they also have rights so their problems should be solved immediately. Advocate Jayant Bhushan told the court that if the ration cards were provided to the sex workers without ID cards, their problem could be solved. Taking cognizance of this serious issue and upon hearing the arguments, the SC ordered that the governments should provide CSW with dry ration and money.

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