Today it was the inauguration of the conference. We reached there around 9 o’clock. The conference inauguration was held in a very big hall. I think there were almost a thousand people present there and most of them were sex workers from different parts of India and abroad. I had never seen that big number of sex workers at one place. There were lots of Hijras as well. There were people from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Australia, Hong Kong, US and UK. But most of them were from India and Bangladesh. Mayer of Kolkata city, some religious leader and a lot of other VIPs were also there as chief guest.
I met Dr. Jana who is member of the advisory board to Government of India for HIV and AIDS programs in India. He was founder of the Sonaganchi project which has been really a huge success and now has become a model for the whole world. They have separated the programs in two session each day, 3 hours each session. The second session was the panel discussion about sex workers are entertainment workers. Different people put their thoughts but to be honest I did not understand most part of it because the whole conversation was in Bengali. But I understood about half of it, it was Okay.
It was very interesting to see how sex workers were putting their views and sharing their experience. Most of them were talking about the problems they face created by Police and discrimination in the society. A lot of them were saying that their children can not get admission in the schools only because they are children of the sex workers. They can not open a bank account or even buy a insurance because they don’t have any residential proof. It means they might not be able to use Internet either because now it is necessary for everyone to show their identity card at the cyber cafe.
During the conference few people from media came who wanted to interview Seranna about the documentary we are making. She was interviewed first and then they interviewed me also. They wanted to talk me about Sanjeevani Booti. After my interview they talked to other foreigners, Hijras and sex workers. I also want to inteview few sex workers cause it seems something different than what I have already known about them. There are a lot of things that I need to know and this is a good opportunity for me. I will try to interview them tomorrow.