Sex workers from various parts of the country will gather in Kolkata to connect through video conferencing to the International AIDS Conference in the US this July, a representative of the sex workers community said . The proposed “global hub and sex workers freedom festival”, to be attended by 900 delegates, will put across the community’s rights-based issues at the conference in Washington. “We are holding ‘global hub’ in India because sex workers are not allowed entry to the United States by US government. The event will allow us to participate and give sex workers a chance to give inputs into important discussions being held in Washington,” said Andrew Hunter, representative of the Asian network of sex workers.”Sex workers have an important role to play in community responses to HIV and we will make our voices heard loud and clear from Kolkata,” Hunter added.
Officials from the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) will represent India at the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington to be held July 22-27. Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) will host the parallel conference in Kolkata July 21-27 in collaboration with the Global Network of Sex Workers and the All India Network of Sex Workers. ”The idea is to ensure that all important issues that relate to the lives of sex workers and of others like intravenous drug users, men having sex with men, and other high risk groups, are discussed and debated,” said Bharati Dey, secretary, DMSC.