From sex workers to skilled professionals

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NSDC rescued 13 girls from GB Road, the infamous red-light area in Delhi and skilled them to be unarmed security guards.

National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has taken up an interesting initiative to uplift marginalised sex workers majorly surrounded by the stigma of sex trade, vulnerable to violence, constantly at risk of health issues, and facing disrespect, stress and discrimination. With an aim to end this discrimination and empower them through skill training, NSDC, under the aegis of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE), undertook a project to skill train 13 girls, who were victims of trafficking. The skilling body just announced the successful completion of skill training of these girls to fit into the role of unarmed security guards.

13 girls were rescued from GB Road, the infamous red-light area in Delhi, by the Special Police Unit for Women and Children (SPUWAC)—a special body of the Delhi Police, which aims to safeguard the rights of women and children. In a project, under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMVKY), the girls underwent short-term skill training for a month.

Under the direction of the Juvenile Justice Committee, chaired by Hon’ble Justice Mukta Gupta of the Delhi High Court, the objective of this special project was to provide support and skill training to the disadvantaged girls and find them viable, alternate professions. Post their rescue, these girls were provided shelter at the Nirmal Chhaya complex, a home for the destitute. Here, they were counselled to manage their aggression, foresee the world of freedom and seek the path towards positive development. The girls were further shifted to Dwarka Homes for Women, to protect them and help them avoid threats from their agents.

Commenting on the special project, Rajesh Agrawal, joint secretary and CVO, MSDE says, “Exploitation of marginalised sex workers is a pitiable situation. The workers experience discrimination because of their criminalised status and due to the stigma associated with their work. Through this project under PMKVY, MSDE endeavours to end the stigma by providing skill training to these girls and by empowering them for better opportunities of livelihood.”

Agrawal believes that the vision of Skill India can be harnessed when the entire workforce can be utilised effectively for its development. “Our collaborative effort with Delhi Police aims to protect the trafficked girls at a young age and channelise their efficiencies by engaging them in productive vocations,” he adds.
Jayant Krishna, ED & COO, NSDC says, “NSDC is committed to extend its support to law-enforcement bodies, such as Delhi Police and NGOs for implementing economic empowerment strategies for these sex-trade survivors through skill development.”

NSDC also aims to give them access to alternative sources of income. Participation in the skill training programme helped the participants get rid of the stigma and also boost their self-esteem and confidence. “Through such measures, NSDC wants to inspire other agencies to come forward and enable the seamless integration of such victims and survivors into the national mainstream,” Krishna adds.
Chairman of the Juvenile Justice Committee, Justice Gupta says, “Human trafficking is an issue of serious concern. We believe that the special projects of NSDC will encourage other victims to come forward and find opportunities for better livelihood. Through this transformational programme, we seek to achieve substantial impact in the lives of these girls.”

NSDC’s approved training partner, Olive Heritage, supported by the Management & Entrepreneurship and Professional Skills Council (MEPSC), executed the skill training programme through a makeshift training centre at Dwarka Homes for Women. Olive further collaborated with leading security agencies, such as G4S and GIS to facilitate employment opportunities post completion of the training and certification.

These trafficked girls, between the age group of 15 and 18, are from penurious backgrounds, with little or no literacy. The one-month skill training in the unarmed security guard course equipped the workers with an alternative new skill to lead peaceful lives with dignity.

At the onset of the training, it was a daunting task to convince them as some of these girls were addicted to alcohol, steroids and smoking. They were inclined to return to the same vicious circle of sex work. But, with the passage of time, they developed an interest towards the skill training programme. The counselling session ushered in the hope that there is a life beyond those dark allies and it only requires courage to leave the shackles behind and step towards a brighter future.

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