ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Financial Inclusion of Female Sex Workers

A Study from Andhra Pradesh

The clandestine nature of sex work and the stigma surrounding it restricts access to and utilisation of financial services by female sex workers, and makes it more difficult for policymakers to design appropriate programmes for their empowerment. An examination of the factors that contribute to the utilisation of financial services focused on FSWs reveals that there is an urgent need to strengthen linkages with formal banking institutions for the financial inclusion and empowerment of FSWs.

This article uses the data collected from the Behavioral Tracking Survey Round 3, of India HIV/AIDS Alliance under Avahan India AIDS Initiative, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Avahan.

Female sex workers (FSWs) constitute a vulnerable community in India and elsewhere and are left to live at the fringes of society. There is abundant literature citing the reasons that women enter into sex work and the conditions in which they live (Balfour and Allen 2014; Patel et al 2016; Saggurti et al 2011). Targeted intervention strategies have documented the social, cultural, and economic deprivations suffered by FSWs which have limited their interaction with mainstream society (Balfour and Allen 2014). The needs of FSWs are manifold due to the nature of their work and the risk it poses to their physical and mental health and well-being. Moreover, their social and economic condition does not make for an argument for leaving them out of the basic entitlements and services, which are necessary to sustain a living. Marginalised communities like that of FSWs do not have a voice in the public space.

Lately, the role of community mobilisation has been identified in various interventions, to empower FSWs and for them to raise their voice for claiming their rights and entitlements. The role of collective efficacy and collective action is crucial to integrate them through legal and financial linkages and other community activities (Parimi et al 2012). However, the process of integration has not materialised at the pace and in the manner in which numerous programmes had perceived the outcome of their interventions (Stangl et al 2013). The interventions have focused on isolated domains, such stigma reduction, instead of a comprehensive programme which can influence discrimination against FSWs (Stangl et al 2013).

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Updated On : 2nd Nov, 2018
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