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Sex Workers in Sonagachi

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HIV/AIDS prevalence among sex workers in the Sonagachi redlight area of Kolkata is significantly lower than that among sex workers in any other Indian city. The unique success of the STD/HIV Intervention Programme (SHIP) in Sonagachi can be attributed mostly to the sex workers' active participation in its structure, decision-making and implementation through their association called Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC, popularly known as Durbar). The valiant struggle for empowerment against the powerful vested in the sex trade by the poor, socially stigmatised and extremely vulnerable Sonagachi sex workers through a collective of their own can herald the beginning of a silent revolution among sex workers in the Indian as well as global arena.

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