Telegram ID: @rotassociationofmeghalaya_RAM
RAM works by bringing together our sisters in distress i.e. women in sex work from different corners of all the 8 districts in Meghalaya. At RAM general meetings, members share the problems faced by them, and work together to prioritise and solve key issues. A member described how things had changed since RAM began in 2010: “Before RAM, if we had any issues, only MACS would address it. Now if we have any issue, all the RAM members help to resolve it. Earlier we had fear. Now we have confidence, we have strength.”
Members of RAM are on a mission to change the perspective of the government who currently links sex work to trafficking. The role of each and every member is to support coordination and work together with sex workers or sisters in distress across the state of Meghalaya on sex worker issues, particularly sex worker rights.
Financial instability and health problems are the two main challenges faced by members of RAM. These issues are compounded by stigma and discrimination from moral police NGOs and law enforcement authorities, as sex workers in Meghalaya are often reluctant to report crimes against them (such as theft, abuse, rape or murder) and are unable to access government schemes and services that would help them. Although sex work is technically legal in Meghalaya as well as the rest of India, several aspects of the work, such as soliciting, are criminalised, and female sex workers are still heavily stigmatised in society. This creates a culture of silence around sex work, where our members feel they cannot raise their issues for fear of discrimination or, at worst, further abuse.
Like the NSWP, RAM also aims to break the silence by creating a platform for women in sex work, where we can raise our voices and advocate for our rights as citizens of Meghalaya. The leaders in RAM are passionate about the movement, and have been making incredible efforts to help it succeed.