ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Untold Stories of Human Trafficked Survivors and Sex Workers in Manipur

This study was sponsored by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (2017–19). The author is grateful to researchers involved in this study, and A Romita Devi, who helped her with the interviews. All trafficked survivors and sex workers are referred to by pseudonyms.

Morality and Mortality

The COVID-19 pandemic and its concomitant socio-economic shocks have severely affected the lives of sex workers and members of the transgender community. This article examines how the visibility of such sexual minorities in public spaces has been perceived as a threat to public decency and morality. It highlights the exclusionary pressures they face from the state and community, which have been exacerbated by COVID-19. Overcrowded housing, financial precarity, and a reduction in demand for their services place them at higher risk of infection and starvation, while political and social exclusion restricts their access to government services.

Locked Down: Sex Workers and Their Livelihoods

As soon as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, it was clear that the sex workers’ community would be badly hit by it. Far from being a “non-essential” activity, sex work is their bread and butter. COVID-19 has brought the livelihoods of tens of thousands of sex workers to a standstill and adversely affected their physical and mental well-being and that of those dependent on them. Women in sex work always have had to face difficult situations while earning their livelihood. Their marginalisation results in their having to struggle at all levels, including access to health, education and social justice. COVID-19 has gravely affected their livelihood and the looming uncertainty about when this could end has left them in a lurch.

Sex Workers and Misrepresentations

The article responds to “Social Distancing and Sex Workers in India” by Priyanka Tripathi and Chhandita Das (EPW, 1 August 2020). By putting forth how the arguments in the published article were bereft of references to feminist literature on sex work and the problematic comparison of the sex...

Locked Out at the Margins

The pandemic and lockdown have been particularly hard on those at society’s margins.

Vicious Cycle of Stigma

“Is a Ragpicker’s Child Likely To Be a Ragpicker?” by Venkatesh Murthy R (EPW, 27 February 2016) reminds me of children of female sex workers in red-light areas. Ragpicking, sex work, and so forth (as parental occupations) are considered a stigma by mainstream ­society. In female sex worker...
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