Sex Worker Bank in Mumbai

Not exactly one of the most glamorous demographics to cater to, sex workers symbolize so much of what can be described as structural or systemic poverty. The squalor of the red-light districts in the urban areas of India do not provide much opportunity for the daughters of sex workers to escape the cycle of oppression and most end up following in their mothers’ footsteps.

Sangini Women’s Co-operative Bank aims to help these women break that cycle by providing savings accounts to the sex workers that can then be passed down to their children. As one sex worker laments:

“But earlier there was no way to save money. Even if you gave it for safekeeping to a shopkeeper or brothel manager, they would never return it.”

One of the interesting outgrowths of this newfound ability to save is that it provides the women a means to say no to clients that are unwilling to use or do not have condoms. Accordingly, these savings accounts give the opportunity to the women to protect themselves from HIV.

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