Sex Worker Bank in Mumbai

Not exactly one of the most glamorous demographics to cater to, sex workers symbolize so much of what can be described as structural or systemic poverty. The squalor of the red-light districts in the urban areas of India do not provide much opportunity for the daughters of sex workers to escape the cycle of oppression and most end up following in their mothers’ footsteps.

Sangini Women’s Co-operative Bank aims to help these women break that cycle by providing savings accounts to the sex workers that can then be passed down to their children. As one sex worker laments:

“But earlier there was no way to save money. Even if you gave it for safekeeping to a shopkeeper or brothel manager, they would never return it.”

One of the interesting outgrowths of this newfound ability to save is that it provides the women a means to say no to clients that are unwilling to use or do not have condoms. Accordingly, these savings accounts give the opportunity to the women to protect themselves from HIV.

Right now the bank has over 1700 accounts and recently started disbursing loans based on these funds. In order to make sure that the bank is accessible to their clientele, different strategies needed to be taken:

With its collection workers going from door to door to collect the cash, the bank is a hit with the sex workers of Kamathipura.

The total amount of money deposited at the bank, including at its newly-opened branches of Vashi and Bhiwandi, is well over 2m rupees ($49,000). With no minimum deposit clause, one can put as little as 10 rupees ($0.25) in the bank.

A similar project has been done in Calcutta some years back.

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  1. Posted March 12, 2008 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Finally! It’s about time for this to be done!

  2. Posted May 14, 2008 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Mumbai online directory services is provided by Desidirectory here alot of

    like Insurance,Appliance,Greeting, Art,Grocery,Jewelry,Music Store and other
    Please Visit For More Detail

  3. pradipaasir
    Posted July 10, 2008 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    At last we can really BANK on sex workers.!
    Keep it up sisters, we are coming!

  4. Posted December 8, 2008 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    It is good to see your wesite and your efforts. I would like to contribute in your mission because we too have the same objectives.

  5. Phyu
    Posted December 29, 2008 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    Bravo! I hope someone in our country will start to do the same.

  6. babasaheb
    Posted July 30, 2009 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Congrats i can help in recovery of NPA loans

  7. bhayabhai
    Posted October 20, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    it is to much necessary in the big city like as a mumbai, otherwise social condition may be change.

  8. Posted February 5, 2010 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    very good this

4 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Victory for Sex Workers Posted on May 2, 2008 by prernasri In a prior post, Vinay wrote about a groundbreaking event – the establishment of the first ever bank run for and by [...]

  2. By TC-I Week in Review « ThinkChange India on May 17, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    [...] feature on the bank for sex workers in [...]

  3. [...] Posted on June 2, 2008 by Santhosh We reported here on TC-I couple of months back about India’s first sex-workers bank being set up in Mumbai. A group of sex workers in Mysore have gone a step-further and emerged as [...]

  4. By TC-I Week in Review « ThinkChange India on June 14, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    [...] published last week, but Vinay’s post on the sex worker bank continues to generate [...]

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