They have been without identity for years,and now sex workers in the city are likely to lose out on government initiatives to issue unique identity cards,or social security numbers. Because brothel owners are reluctant to give out correct information on sex workers.
The government has introduced the voluntary Aadhaar scheme and the mandatory National Population Register (NPR) to provide unique identity codes for all citizens. But Delhis red light area,GB Road,is shying away from participating in the drive.
Brothel owners are reluctant on giving the correct information on the sex workers, Director of Census Operations (Delhi) Varsha Joshi told Newsline.
Joshi said several camps have been organised in the GB Road area. The NPR forms were filled two years ago with the help of NGOs and the entire area was covered properly. If there are still individuals who have been left out,we can do the registration again, Joshi said.
The Bharatiya Patita Uddhar Sabha (BPUS),a social organisation that works with sex workers and their children,has demanded that the UIDAI deliver all Aadhaar cards at their office for distribution to sex workers.
Our survey in Delhis red light area found that the sex workers are not allowed to speak to outsiders. The brothel owners do not want them to get Aadhaar cards,and hence do not pass on correct information. Those who enrolled,dont get the Aadhaar cards as brothel owners dont allow the delivery. We have written to UIDs deputy director general,asking for the Aadhaar cards for this area to be prepared at the office of BPUS and also delivered here, BPUS president Khairati Lal Bhola said in a statement.
DDG (Delhi zone) Sujata Chaturvedi told Newsline it is UIDAI policy to deliver Aadhaar letters through India Post.
It is beyond our purview to deliver letters in bulk to an individual or an organisation. If the sex workers are being held captive by the brothel owners,it is a policing issue. We have told the organisation that a special camp can be held to enrol the individuals who are left out,but we cannot hand over the letters to them, Chaturvedi said.
Bhola said India has 1,100 red light areas and over 3 lakh brothels with 24 lakh sex workers and 54 lakh children.
Our organisation is making efforts to get them Aadhaar cards to prove they are citizens of India. As per Article 14 of the Indian Constitution,they must get equal rights as given to others, he said.