Children of traditional sex workers are often abused and discriminated at school by students from other communities, forcing them to prefer isolation than mingling with the rest of the society, a new study by the apex child rights body said. The study, conducted by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, suggested that there was also a fear the children could join the profession of their parents.
In most cases, the children preferred to not “interact or mingle” with outsiders or people from other communities, it said. “The communities under study prefer to live in isolation from rest of the society,” the study, based on a set of a questionnaire given to 1,000 respondents, said.
NCPCR said the children of sex workers require quality education, rehabilitation and re-integration to insulate them from the “influence of their traditional practice”. They need residential facilities, “otherwise they eventually become part of the family profession,” it said. “(The) children of the communities shared that they are often abused and discriminated by children from other communities,” the study said.
The NCPCR study outlined measures that are required to shield the children from these problems, saying there is a need for a “two-pronged” strategy. Facilities should be provided to two generations, that is — children of traditional sex workers who are currently staying with their parents and the new generation for whom a targeted intervention is required from their early childhood, it said.
“Children after the age of 15 may be provided life skills and vocational training and hand-holding till they get a job or capable to earn their livelihood and sustain themselves. A convergent action is required amongst schools, tinkering labs and vocational training.” The interventions by National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) have to be sensitive towards the children rather than having a singular objective of HIV prevention.
“The HIV interventions should be in convergence with the other programmes from other departments like education, nutrition, health, child development, skills etc,” NCPCR said. There is a need for proper investigation by police to check whether the children are also “engaged in the family trade,” it said.
The field study was conducted by Bhartiya Kisan Sangh in Ranchi.