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Abolitionist model to fight prostitution

Coalition hears stories of three young adults

Sudeshna Banerjee | Published 31.01.23, 08:33 AM
Claire Quidet, president of Mouvement du Nid, addresses the gathering on trafficking issues at the French consulate general on Monday.

Claire Quidet, president of Mouvement du Nid, addresses the gathering on trafficking issues at the French consulate general on Monday.

Picture by Sudeshna Banerjee

Three young adults who addressed a gathering at the French consulate general on Monday and their peers from two red-light areas of Kolkata were the reason why a dozen-strong delegation from France is in the city.

“These youngsters joined us as children and like 300-odd others, who are currently enrolled at our seven safe centres in Sonagachhi and Premchand Boral Street, they have not entered prostitution or any of tertiary professions like liquor trade. We offer training in jewellery making, tailoring, food processing etc in a bid to divert their route,” said Paromita Chowdhury, chief operating officer of South Kolkata Hamari Muskan (SKHM).


Of the three, one is studying journalism in a college, another has completed her BA and is working as a trainee teacher and the third is in school and has also enrolled in a cricket coaching programme.

Watching them speak were members of the Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution (CAP) International, a coalition of 35 NGOs from 27 countries which promotes a Franco-Swedish diplomatic initiative to combat human trafficking, and their partners from France.The coalition has been funding Hamari Muskan since 2021.

“We help more than 17,000 prostituted persons across the world every year. Our coalition promotes the abolitionist model to fight prostitution.... The three pillars of the strategy are decriminalisation of prostitutes, offering of exit strategies and criminalisation of sex buyers and pimps. Our movement gained ground after France and Sweden took a joint diplomatic initiative to fight sexual exploitation in 2019. We created exit programmes in Nepal, India, Mongolia and Malawi with local implementing partners,” said Hema Sibi, advocacy coordinator of CAP International. SKHM is one of their two Indian partners.

The team reached Kolkata on January 26 and has since been following the work on the ground. “We are highly impressed with the way they develop the service according to needs perceived,” said Quidet Jean Noel of the Rotary Club of Orleans, who is in charge of the India action with SKHM.

The French NGO Mouvement de Nid auctioned artificial bird nests (which is what ‘nid’ means in French) to raise money for the Kolkata activity.“In India, prostitution is local. In France, 90 per cent prostitutes are from Africa, China, South America and eastern Europe. We are fighting for them to get access to the public aid that women who suffer from domestic violence get in France as we believe prostitutes are no less victims of violence,” said Claire Quidet, president of the NGO.

Last updated on 31.01.23, 02:44 PM

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