Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee

Who do you work with?

The Durbar is a collectivization of 65000 sex workers, functioning as an exclusive forum of female, male
and transgender sex workers in West Bengal, India and managed by the sex-workers. The goal of the organization is to discriminate sex work and sex work environment. We believe that sex work is like any other work.

How are sex workers involved in your organisation?

Each member of DMSC has equal rights and voting power. DMSC believes that the community members should lead from the front and they should decide all their policies based on their perceived needs and priorities and community leaders should run and own their organization. All the eleven members of the Executive Committee are from the sex workers' community.

Which of NSWP priority areas does your organisation work on?
Oppose the criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work and support its recognition as work
Advocate for universal access to health services, including primary health care, HIV and sexual and reproductive health services
Speak out about violence against sex workers, including violence from police, institutions, clients, and intimate partners, while challenging the myth that sex work is inherently gender-based violence
Oppose human rights abuses, including coercive programming, mandatory testing, raids and forced rehabilitation
Challenge stigma and discrimination against sex workers, their families and partners, and others involved in sex work
Advocate for the economic empowerment and social inclusion of sex workers as sex workers
What are the two main challenges that the sex workers you work with face

Stigma and discrimination as practices confronted by sex workers including their family members.
State mediated violence is one of the major challenges as the existing law unduly empower police & administration at the cost of rights and dignity of sex workers

Describe other areas of your work

Running Targeted HIV Intervention Program for the sex workers and their clients since the last twenty two years in West Bengal and had been successful in curbing the spread of HIV and STIs. Support sex issues in sex-workers rights and social entitlement meant for underprivileged community members. Address violence and discrimination practices by the service provider through establishing Anti-Violence Forum with civil society organization and institutions. Preventing the entry of underage girls and unwilling women in the sex sector through formation of Self Regulatory Board (SRB).