Who do you work with?:
Sampada Grameen Mahila Sanstha (SANGRAM) is non governmental organization and responds to HIV/AIDS through a comprehensive strategy of prevention, access to treatment, care and support. The strategy covers the full continuum of the epidemic – before, during and after. It reaches sex workers and married women, clients, husbands and lovers, teenagers and truck drivers, migrants and men who have sex with men, orphans and widows, Panchayat heads and policemen.
How are sex workers involved in your organisation?:
Sex workers are involved in all of SANGRAM’s comprehensive health and human rights Programs:
SANGRAM believes that insiders are more effective than outsiders. Community participation and collectivization helped in building and successfully running following programs
1. Peer based intervention among people in sex work
2.Transport and migrant workers project
3.District advocacy campaign to reduce HIV/AIDS and violence against rural women
4.Muskan – Peer based intervention among men who have sex with men
5.CASAM – Centre for Advocacy on stigma And Marginalization
6.Sangli Talkies – Community Video Unit
7.Mitra Hostel- Hostel for kids of sex workers
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
Critique the trafficking paradigm that conflates representations of sex work, migration, and mobility
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:
Sex workers, men who have sex with men, trans people all experience varying types, and differing degrees of social injustice, because of endemic social intolerance of difference and unbending social and religious morality. However, each group has its own problems arising from how they are regarded as ‘other’, and find their own ways and means of coping. Sex work is defined as an exchange of sexual services for money between consenting adults.
Women in sex work are regarded as ‘immoral’ because they have multiple sexual partners and because they earn money through sex. By doing this, they break with the norm of sex within marriage, sex for love, and sex for reproduction. A key issue facing female sex workers is to overcome the internalised sense of shame about what they do. Feminism and rights have provided a platform for sex workers at SANGRAM to re-evaluate what they do and understand it as business, rather than as something inherently ‘wrong’. Advocating that Sex work is work VAMP has become better organised and has established safer working conditions.
Sex between men is perceived as unnatural. Males who have sex with males [MSM] struggle with a similar internalised shame, which is to do with the social pressure to perform a particular type of masculinity. MSM at SANGRAM work to help families accept their own and to care for men who have lost the support of their families. MUSKAN the collective of males and trans persons is a collective of MSM, males in sex work [MSW] and trans people some of whom are in sex work and some who are not in sex work. The commonality of being deemed biologically male binds them together.
Unlike females in sex work, MSM in this rural district are less exposed to the rights discourse and those who earn money through sex do so under extremely disorganised working conditions. They are highly vulnerable to violence and HIV as a result. A key issue for males in sex work is creating safe spaces for sex work and intimate relationships.
Describe other areas of your work:
SANGRAM’s primary focus has been working with marginalized groups, addressing issues of gender based violence and HIV prevention, care and support.
Production of films, plays, books, issue papers
Campaign on communalism