Sonagachi

Communication and community mobilization, anti-trafficking and legitimization, participation and empowerment: HIV/AIDS intervention and the Sonagachi Project

HIV/AIDS infection is a serious threat to the health and welfare of India. HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections (STI) are primarily propagated through heterosexual intercourse in India. Sex workers having multiple partners are considered to be conduits of virus transmission. Hence interventions targeting sex workers form a significant part of India's effort to curb the HIV/AIDS pandemic within its borders.

The role of brothels in reducing HIV risk in Sonagachi, India

Article by Ghose T, Swendeman DT, George SM. Qual Health Res. 2011 Jan 25.

High rates of empowerment, HIV-related knowledge, and condom use among sex workers in Sonagachi, India have been attributed to a community-led intervention called the Sonagachi HIV/AIDS Intervention Programme (SHIP). In this research Ghose and colleagues examined the crucial role of brothels in the success of the intervention. In-depth, semistructured interviews were conducted with 55 participants of SHIP. The results indicate that brothels help sex workers reduce HIV risk by (a) serving as targeted sites for SHIP's HIV intervention efforts, (b) being operated by madams (women managers of brothels) who participate in SHIP's intervention efforts and promote healthy regimes, (c) structuring the economic transactions and sexual performances related to sex work, thus standardizing sex-related behaviour, and (d) promoting community empowerment among brothel residents. Implications of these results are discussed for future efforts to replicate SHIP's success in other sex work communities.

(abstract authors' own)

Community-based Organisations in Policy and Practice Sex Workers, HIV/AIDS and the Social Construction of Solutions

This fascinating article offers a critical analysis of the role of sex workers community groups in HIV prevention and care in India.

Crossing boundaries: Bangladeshi sex workers in Calcutta

An article by Malini Sur of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Amsterdam published in the IIAS Newsletter.

Sex workers run restaurant in Mysore

A news story by Team Mangalorean Bangalore featured on mangalorean.com on the 18 February 2010. The story outlines how sex workers have utilised a World Bank grant to start their own restaurant in Mysore. The purpose of the restaurant is to challenge stigma and discrimination against sex workers it has also provided income generation opportunities for older sex workers. Profits from the Ashodaya restaurant fund a hospice for those terminally ill with AIDS. And, when unclaimed bodies are found in the city, it is this group that pays for the last rites - work that few others would be willing to do. 

Children of sex workers get a helping hand in India

A news story by Manipadma Jena featured on newsroomjersey.com on the 17 February 2010. The story explains the difficulties that the children of sex workers face in India, particularly their exclusion from the mainstream school system because of sex work related stigma and discrimination. It outlines how the Durbar Women's Collaborative Committee, with assistance from their children, have countered this problem through the establishment of alternative schools and centres where older children can learn vocational skills.

The Sonagachi project: A sustainable community intervention program

An article by Jana, S, Basu, I, Rotheram-Borus, M.J., and Newman, P.A in the journal AIDS Education and Prevention 16(5), 405-414.

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