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In a first, Central Govt planning to provide banking facilities to sex workers and human trafficking survivors

The primary focus of this task force would be linking these female workers with various banks which would primarily give them power over their own money

According to a report by Times Of India, the Centre is contemplating initiating a process to see how the survivors of human trafficking and those involved in commercial sexual exploitation could be brought into the framework of ‘financial inclusion’. The clandestine nature of the job and the stigma surrounding it refrains female sex labourers to benefit from any financial services provided by the Centre. Economic exclusion of these sex workers from government and other formal financial institutions is both a cause and an effect of their occupation.

The ministry of finance has set up a special task force on January 2. In a meeting scheduled to be held next week, this high-level task force will decide on how to connect this stratum of society with banking facilities and introduce them to the advantages of such financial inclusion.

The Centre is “working out the modalities for extending the benefits of financial inclusion to women victims of sex trafficking” and is expected to finalise the same by January 15.

According to the ministry of finance, the task force would be led by a senior official from the department of financial services and would include representatives from ministries of health, women and child development, home affairs, Unique Identification Authority of India, National Aids Control Organisation, representatives of the State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank and few NGOs.

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The primary focus of this task force would be linking these female workers with various banks which would primarily give them power over their own money, said Ravi Kant, chief of NGO Shakti Vahini, who is also one of the representatives of this task force.

Another member of this special task force, Amod Kanth, founder secretary of an NGO named Prayas, emphasised that “In the backdrop of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, the existence of sex workers is shrouded by fear and they mostly live away from the mainstream. It is because of this segregated existence and fear of being identified that they are unable to access social entitlements and banking facilities.” He felt that this attempt of making financial inclusions would prove to be a game changer for these sex workers and victims.

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