These are the voices of the children of Sex workers in red-light areas. These children are vulnerable to the ways of the trade right from their birth and at every stage of grrowing up.
Anjali is aged 12 years, who stays in the national high way with her mother day & night She had diffulty getting enough to eat and feels the lack of a good place to live. She is studying 5th class and likes school, but she no longer attends school, She doesn't like it when the teachers scolds and beats. She says would like to study and become a doctor. She also wants to leave the area. Whar are her chances of avoiding a life of prostitution ?
HELP supports Child Protection Programmes for Children of Women in Prostutution in 12 red-light areas of Coastal Andhra Pradesh. The 5 Drop-in-centers, "Vathsalya" provide a safe space for the children of women in prostitution within the red-lioght aareas providing services to ensure educational mainstraming, health, safety and protection from the imminent voilence and abuse which is characteristic of the red-light area. HELP takes custody of some of these children, particularly those at risk, to Asha Sadan (Residential School for needy children of women in prostitution) at Machavaram, PRakasam District for special protection.
Rani, Lakshmi, and Revathi, all under 15 years of age, rescued from brothels in Mumbai, Goa and Delhi, await release from state custody, so that they may return to their homes in Coastal Andhra Pradesh, and continue with their lives. Rani is HIV positive, for whom the challenge is multiple. They fight for their rights to freedom, dignity, justice and vindication of the coilence they have been subjected to.
Uma, Radhika and Mary were all married before they turned 12. They were subjected to severe phusical, emotional and sexual torture during this time. Neither the Panchayat, nor the Police helped them. By the time they wer 15 to 16, they were thrown out of the house. In search of means of survival, they fell into the trap of a women who promised them jobs, and trafficked them into prostitution instead. They had no choice of survival.
HELP runs a Psychosocial Rehabilitation programmes for children resued from Prostitution, providing services in mental health, counselling, occupational trainings and legal aid to facilitate the rescue, repatriation or restoration after release from State Custody. HELP runs two shelter homes at Chilakaluripet and Machavaram, the focus of which is on healing and empowerment of the girls, emotionally, economically and psychologically repatriation and restoration, economic empowerment through occupational training and education.
"I don't want to go home. I don't like my parents... but you know all my uncles, aunts and relatives tell me that. I am as beautiful as the cinema actress, Sridevi so why don't engage in Dommara dancing .. I mean half naked... che... cheee... but I don't Don't like to. Intially my friend and I learnt to dance for fun... but later on my friend became a professional dommara dancer.. she is just 14 years... but I don't want to. Last week when I went home for celebrating my attainment of puberty... I mean turning to being 13 years... you know .. you know... " as tears started to roll down he eyes.
"My father came home drunk and tried to rame me... he is my father... how could he forget that and engage is such an act... I tried to die by cutting my hand as I could not face myself and normal children.... So I don't want to go home... I am happy here in HELP hostel.... I have learnt embroidery and karate... "and she immediately jumps up to perform a Karate drill with full vigor.
"See how many friend I have got here... laughing to each other... playing... what not... This is my home and this is my family. I am happy here... home far away form home..."
This is voice of Lata (name changed) a 13 years - old girl one of the 40 children who is enjoying security and opportunity to study under the umbrella of HELP at the Machavaram Hostel for Community Sex Workers' Children.
I donot knwo what it means. by "Kannerikam" But, all that I knew is one that I too had to take up prostitution like mother. But I do not like it. So saying she cried with tears in her eyes. It is Radha of 12, born in Dommara Community.
Prostitution, said to be the customary profession of Dommara community (a semi nomadic tribe) It is customary that, the first born girl child, should, on attaining puberty will be entrusted to a man who pays the highest amount to practise "Kannerakam" (the first sex) She then becomes ineligible for marriage. She has to take up and continue in prostitution.
Coming to know all about this, the voulunteers of HELP of Chilakaluripet, met at once her parents, community elders, discussed with them and lastly convinced them, and admitted the ill fated padma in HELP Child Home.
Now she says I don't go back to my house I study and stay in this organization. I become a volunteer. I will save other girls from entering into the profession as I did. That is my goal.
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