Local Goa News

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Demonetization hits sex workers, procurers work around it

Panaji: Fourteen days into demonetization, as the common man’s finances still remain in a state of flux, the plight of sex workers comes to the fore even as in some cases procurers are finding innovative ways to work around the cash-crunch situation.

Half-a-dozen sex workers, who travel to Panaji from Vasco every day in search of clients, while appreciating the government’s decision said their business has dwindled since the demonization move. While theirs is a hand-to-mouth existence, the last few days have been even harder with few or no customers, they said.
Shilpa (name changed), who is in her forties, expressed her worry about having to return home empty-handed as she had not one client since morning. “I did not go to eat lunch, as I didn’t want to miss customers,” Shilpa, who also works for an NGO, said.
Savita, another sex worker had a similar worry, but she did not curse the government for her plight. “Well! We will have to bear with it for a few more days,” she said with a smile.
Procurers operating along the North Goa beach belt, though, have found a way to work around the situation. When TOI approached some of them for the story, one was ready to “arrange girls” within minutes and said that debit cards could be used to make payments and could be swiped at a restaurant that was willing to offer cash in exchange. The procurer affirmed that demonetization had not had much impact on their business.
Sex-workers coming to Panaji, who have not hit on the idea as yet, are feeling the pinch of the demonitization move and left them cash strapped.
One 29-year-old sex worker, who shared that on normal days her average daily income is around 1,000, said that the last few days have been lean. The woman, who visits the capital city at least three times a week, said, “Today, I had only one customer.” She was upset that she would likely not have any more customers for rest of the day.
“My husband is a drunkard and I have two kids to look after,” she said, and added that she worked as a maid till she was pushed into the business a few years ago, after which it has been her source of her income. “After getting married to the wrong man, my happier times ended,” she said nonchalantly.
This is the first time, they say their business has been affected this badly. Are they worried?
“Why should we worry? We haven’t hoarded money in gunny bags,” said another sex worker with a smile.

TOI Goa News

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