Plan rehab for sex workers, govt told

CONCERN OVER RISING CASES of HIV/AIDS

SHILLONG, April 7: Concerned with flesh trade in the state and the HIV/AIDS infection among sex workers, the Assembly Committee on Women’s Empowerment has asked the Meghalaya government to come up with a rehabilitation scheme.
Speaking to media persons after holding a meeting with different line departments and the state police, the committee’s Chairperson Ampareen Lyngdoh said there are more than 5,000 HIV/AIDS cases and counting in Meghalaya.
“We discussed the matter on the floor of the House and the police and the Social Welfare Department assured us that the government will design a policy to address the issue of HIV/AIDS in the backdrop of commercial sex,” she said.
The 60-member Assembly had discussed the issue of sex workers operating in Shillong during the recently concluded Budget session.
Stressing the need for a roadmap to address the “social evil”, the authorities concerned had informed the committee that various sections of the law are being applied to curb human trafficking and flesh trade.
The committee said the issue of a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS among the sex workers will be discussed with the MLAs.
Member of the committee, H.M. Shangpliang said the Project Director of Meghalaya AIDS Control Society had confirmed that more than 200 sex workers in the city are HIV positive.
“We will not like to shame people with HIV/AIDS but help them. They must approach the MACS,” he said.
According to Shangpliang, the committee has given two months’ time to the officials of Health and Social Welfare, police and MACS to come up with a plan to tackle the menace.
“We need some modalities to help these sex workers come to the mainstream. Let us give them a good scheme,” he said, (Contd on P-4)
Plan rehab for…
(Contd from P-3) lamenting that the slow fund flow under the central scheme for sex.
Shangpliang also lamented the absence of shelter homes for women and the defunct one-stop crisis centres at Khliehriat and Jowai despite three out of every 1,000 women in Meghalaya testing positive for HIV/AIDS.

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