US Ambassador to India Richard Verma and US Permanent Representative to United Nations Samantha Power Thursday accompanied Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson Swati Maliwal on a visit to G B Road, Delhi’s red light area.
“US Ambassador to India Richard Verma and US Ambassador to UN Ms Samantha Power visited GB road with DCW today,” Maliwal tweeted.
The tweet and photograph of the visit was then retweeted by the US Embassy. Verma also tweeted, “Kudos to @SwatiJaiHind for her outstanding campaign to improve government rehabilitation shelter”.
Verma and Power had earlier approached the DCW and requested Maliwal to accompany them to the red light area, as they wanted to see the situation on the ground and interact with sex workers, said sources.
— Rich Verma (@USAmbIndia) November 19, 2015
“The ambassadors took note of the work the DCW had been doing in the area, as did many international media outlets. This is the first time in years that the DCW has helped rescue trafficked women and girls from the area. The US Embassy approached us as we were so involved with it,” Maliwal told The Indian Express.
The visit was organised with assistance from NGO Shakti Vahini.
On the delegation’s interactions with sex workers in the area, the DCW said in a statement, “We explained to them the various challenges the government, NGOs and and the police face while handling problems in the red light area. Sex workers also expressed the problems they face. The delegation was shocked to realise that all women present had been trafficked at one point of time and that every other day, women and girls are being rescued by DCW and NGOs. They complained of continuous harassment by local police and inhuman conditions in the brothels”.
“We asked for cooperation and support from the ambassadors and the American Chamber of Commerce for the rehabilitation project through which the DCW aims to help sex workers willing to give up sex work. We have not decided on the exact dates but the pilot project aimed at rehabilitating around 200 women is very much underway,” Maliwal added.
During their visit, the ambassadors appreciated the work done by the DCW in the area, including improving the supply of condoms, improving healthcare facilities and efforts to rehabilitate the women there, said an official.