Initiating change in the lives of sex workers: Gitanjali Babbar at TEDxGBU

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Kat-Katha’s vision is to present a series of life choices to the women and children living in the brothels of GB Road and instill a sense of confidence in them to design and act towards a life of choice.

Gitanjali Babbar was initially involved with National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) where she got an opportunity to work with eunuchs. It was during this stint that Gitanjali first visited GB Road and interacted with the sex workers there. To her horror, she discovered the grim reality of these sex workers serving 20-40 customers in a day. They needed a support system to talk to about their personal issues apart from the regular safe sex information. Gitanjali did just that. She set up Kat-Katha- an initiative that aims to provide a better life for sex workers and opportunities to find alternative livelihoods.What makes Kat-Katha unique is the way they operate. Community participation is very much at the core of this initiative instead of the conventional raid, rescue and rehabilitation route. Gitanjali encourages GB Road sex workers to join mainstream life by teaching them arts like stitching, embroidery, painting and encouraging them to explore alternate life choices, both within and without the world of brothels. Today through her initiative, Geentajali works for 3500 to 4000 sex workers and continues to be an agent of change in our society.

Kat-Katha works with the commercial sex workers of Garston Bastion (GB) Road and their children. GB Road is the largest red light area in India’s capital city, Delhi.  The organisation employs a four prong “RISE” approach, which includes raising awareness of Rights, Integration with mainstream society vocational training, Skills training, and Education for both women and their children. Kat-Katha aims to impact 4000 women in 77 brothels of GB Road and to create a replicable model that can be used to offer choice and opportunity to sex workers across the country.

With a bustling economy that touches more than  4000 sex workers and pimps, policy and remedial interventions have evaded GB Road despite the fact an overwhelming 60% of women state that their profession was not one of choice, but poverty and desperation. Sex work has formed the core of the GB Road economy for over 2 centuries and has been untouched by reform through colonial times as well as in the independent Indian state. Sex workers’ children face social exclusion and have little opportunity for education. Through a vicious cycle that limits their opportunity and choice, many of these children are then forced into prostitution as well.

Listen to Gitanjali Babbar’s inspirational TED Talk, leave your valuable comments, and spread the word.
For more visit us at facebook.com/katkathaa or contact us at katkathaa@gmail.com

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