Watch Meena Seshu and Annah Pickering speaking from the Sex Worker Freedom Festival in Kolkata on 'Democracy Now'.
A full transcript will be on there website soon here. This is how they reported the conference:
Sex workers and their allies have refused to be shut out of the global conversation on HIV/AIDS, staging a six-day alternative conference, the Sex Worker Freedom Festival. They have been video linking with the main conference in Washington, D.C., as well as holding their own conversations about HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, along with sex workers' rights.
We go to Kolkata to speak with Meena Seshu, general secretary of SANGRAM, a grassroots group working for the rights of sex workers and people with HIV/AIDS in India; and Annah Pickering, a former sex worker and a member of the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective.
"We have been fighting this epidemic for 20 years now," Seshu says.
"The problem is that governments do not realize that they have to help us fight this epidemic."
Seshu goes on to say, "It is unfortunate that the government is not getting its act together and we are having to deal with the flawed policy, flawed practice, so that we end up with flawed HIV programming. Sex workers have to be at the forefront of this epidemic, I mean they have to fight this epidemic, and we are not being given a chance - we are not being given a fair chance."