Since independence, political parties have promised development for the community, but they are all just promises, All India Network for Sex Workers (AINSW) president Bharati Dey said.

"What did we get after 67 years of Independence? We are still treated as if we are a baggage for the society. The country will soon have its 16th Lok Sabha but we are yet to get any benefits of development," said Dey.

No political party bothered to act on promises made to them while seeking votes. Once the election was over, all of them conveniently forgot the sex workers' existence, Dey complained, adding they felt frustrated.

The AINSW is a network representing the voice of sex workers spread across 16 states and also serves as an umbrella body for 90 smaller bodies across the country.

She pointed out that more than 80 percent of sex workers possessed voter identity cards.

"So you can fairly guess how many votes we command. May be we are a minority but minority votes do make a difference," Dey, who also heads the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, a sex workers' organisation which has one lakh 30 thousand registered Sex workers under it, said.

When asked what they would do if exercising the NOTA option failed to move the political parties, she said that the next line of action would be obviously to fight election themselves.

"We can't straightway win but we can eat into the voter base of political parties," Dey said.

(Agencies)

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