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Accounts for the abhorred

Friday, December 03, 2010
By Santoshee Mishra

Here’s some hearty news that is sure to put a smile on the faces of the much loathed bar girl and Commercial Sex Worker (CSW) community, as now even they can avail of the facility of having a nationalised bank accounts to secure their earnings. Sanmitra Trust, an NGO, has come forward to help the deprived communities by helping them open bank accounts with the State Bank of India (SBI).

Till date, the trust has helped more than 1,000 women to open savings bank accounts, by providing them with a letter stating that they were an integral part of the Trust, making the task of opening a bank account easier.

Commenting on the initiative, Prabha Desai, Director, Sanmitra Trust, said, “They never thought that they would ever be able to open a bank account. Besides lacking identity proof, many had that inferiority complex, or believed that they were doing wrong and bad women, and hence never thought of opening a bank account.” So the Trust initiated discussions with the SBI, which was welcomed by the bank. In fact, it was the bank which suggested that Desai issue letters to these women stating that they were a part of the trust, so that they did not face any hardship while opening accounts.

Farha (name changed), a CSW said, “Now it is possible for me to save a lot. Initially, whatever money I used to save and keep at home would always get spent. Moreover, with new accounts we can even get a loan whenever needed.”

About the Trust:
Sanmitra Trust has been involved in AIDS control projects through which they came in contact with numerous female sex workers. Since 1999, it has been working with floating sex workers, who are not associated with brothels and are mostly street-based. The largest number of such sex workers, are concentrated in the Western suburbs.

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