Committee to include representatives of transgender and sex worker communities

To ensure an appropriate response in framing the state women's policy, which aims to recognise the concerns of marginalised communities like transgender women and sex workers, the expert committee will have representation of these communities as well, said Minister for Women and Child Varsha Gaikwad while addressing a state-level consultation in Mumbai on Designing a Social Inclusion Plan for Marginal and Vulnerable Communities.

The consultation, which was organised by the State Women and Child Development Department, State Women's Commission in collaboration with the National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW), Ministry of Women and Child and the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR), brought together senior officials from all social sector departments, NGOs, community-based organisations and experts.

Speaking about the process adopted by the government to frame the women's policy, the minister said a committee of MLAs, MPs and NGOs has been formed which will be expanded to include three representatives from transgender women and sex worker communities to ensure that their concerns get reflected in the policy document. She added that the Department of Women and Child Development is also willing to address concerns of transgenders and to ensure their integration into all social development programmes and schemes.

Concerned over rise in cases of violence against women in vulnerable situations, activists suggested forming a band of 'Ahimsa Messengers' as sex workers face multiple forms of violence by goons and partners. "We will constitute a group of 20 sex workers in each district who will be trained to become Ahimsa Messengers and they will work towards dealing with violence and crisis experienced by the community," a statement issued by CFAR said.

At the panel discussion on anti-trafficking, the community voiced its concerns over police violence during raids and rescue attempts. Transgender rights activist Laxmi Tripathi said in many instances transgenders were assaulted and detained by the police without any due process.

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