Times of India
21 July 2010
By Dipak Kumar Dash
New Delhi, India
Delhi Numbers More Than Mum
There are a whopping 6,88,751 “registered”sex workers in the country and it’s not mandatory for them to have a health certificate on sexually transmitted diseases. Put together, these two pieces of infor mation–revealed in an RTI reply–should send the alarm bells ringing as unprotected paid sex is the main driver of the HIV epidemic in India.
The reply by the ministry of health and family welfare also reveals that the southern states have the largest number of sex workers, at least on government records. Andhra Pradesh leads the list with more than one lakh registered female sex workers while Karnataka has 79,000. They are followed by Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
Interestingly, there is not a single sex worker as per government records in Dadra and Nagar Haveli as well as Daman and Diu. J&K has the least number of registered sex workers–259. Among the metros, Delhi leads the list. Though the capital has only one known red light area, there are 37,900 sex workers –more than those in India’s financial capital, Mumbai.
Experts say a large number of sex workers in the country go undetected in the records. Naco estimates the total number of sex workers in India to be 12.63 lakh. The ministry says the calculation of the total number is based on information from state AIDS Control Societies.
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