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Sex workers seek Rs 100 as minimum wage

The Times of India, Sunday 20 February 2000

KOCHI: It could happen only in Marxist country. Members of the oldest profession are seeking their just wages in Kerala, i.e. Rs 100 as minimum charges for their services.

Not that there was unanimity on this decision taken at the second state meeting of sex workers in Kerala. Apparently many sex workers feel their services merit better pricing. The meeting also urged the government to provide them with housing benefits, ration cards and free medical facilities at government and charitable hospitals. The sex workers pointed out their medical bills had sky-rocketed after liberalisation and drug companies were making millions at their expense. An accusing finger was also pointed at the police, who, they alleged, demanded `protection money'. No Kerala town, incidentally, has a red-light area, leaving the workers vulnerable to police harassment. Left with little choice, they had decided to unionise. Sex workers of Kerala, unite, you have nothing to lose but your shame.

(With contributions from P K Surendran, Prerna Bindra, Sudhir Vyas and Rohit Ghosh)