NEW DELHI: Anand (name changed), the son of Delhi’s GB Road sex workers has assured himself that almost 800 inhabitants of the brothels have rations to feed themselves through the lockdown. With less number of customers, the sex workers are finding difficult to manage their own expenses. However, the 19 year old Anand has managed to collect funds to help the sex workers .
Earlier on April 19, Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced a week long lockdown. Later the government extended it till May 3. Then many of the GB Road sex workers went back to their villages as there no expectation of any income. Those who remained in the brothels solely rely on the savings and the food stocks to feed themselves and their children.
“We are being forced by police to keep the doors to our rooms shut as they said an open door could attract customers. I have run out of savings and I have had to take loans to feed my child and myself. I have been sick for the last few days but there is no help” said Shruti (name changed), a sex worker who has been living in GB Road for years.
Another sex worker broke into tears while explaining her distress. “We face discrimination form the society. We do not have access like others and hardly anyone come to help us. We cannot afford good mask or hand sanitisers. Without government assistance, we are without soaps and detergent.” She said while pointing to her cooking gas which she could not afford to refill.
Anand and his friend, both children of sex workers decided to approach an NGO for help which agreed to donate food items like rice, oil, dal and spices as well as sugar and flour. “The NGO suggested us to collect and distribute the basic food items among the families of sex workers,” said Anand.
“The police hesitated to allow distribution of items initially, but later agreed upon realizing we two only want to help the community.” He added. Their plan is to distribute to almost 800 sex workers still at GB Road but currently they have ration kits for 200 people but they are hopeful to add more to the project.
Instead of calling people to their room which was their first plan, they have decided to wear PPE suits and go to each of the hundreds of rooms as it will be safer than their first plan. Anand is now more excited while explaining about his mission as he has support of number of civil societies and NGOs.