Government Starts Process For ‘Financial Inclusion’ Of Sex Workers

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Date: Thursday, January 10, 2019

Location: New Delhi

In a move that will benefit those at the margins of society, the Centre has set in motion the process to see how survivors of sex trafficking and those caught in the web of
commercial sexual exploitation can be brought into the framework of “financial inclusion.” A high-level task force among other things will now study how banking facilities can reach this
section of society and linkages forged to connect them to advantages of financial inclusion.

The first meeting of the task force is expected to be held next week. The ministry of finance on January 2 issued a memorandum setting out the contours of a task force. It has been set up for “working out the modalities for extending the benefits of financial inclusion to women victims of sex trafficking”. The modalities are proposed to be finalised by January 15.

As per the memorandum, the task force will be led by a senior official from the department of financial services. It has on board representatives from ministries of health, women and child development, home affairs, Unique Identification Authority of India, National Aids Control Organisation and representatives of NGOs.

It is learnt that linkages with banks is seen to be a critical focus area that the task force will dwell on. The task force has on board representatives of State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank.

Amod Kanth, founder secretary, NGO Prayas feels that a plan for making financial inclusion real can be a game changer for the survivors and sex workers. “In the backdrop of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, the existence of a sex workers is shrouded by fear and they mostly live away from the mainstream. It is because of this segregated existence and fear of being identified that they are unable to access social entitlements and banking facilities,” he pointed out. Prayas is on the task force in the capacity of NGO member.

Ravi Kant, chief of NGO Shakti Vahini, who is also on the task force, said that reaching out with banking services and related benefits to such women will give them power over their own money.

Read The Times of India (source) article here.

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