Rajat Kanti Sur
Bishakha Laskar, a sex worker by profession, and the president of Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, the only organization made by sex workers, prayed to her God that the third wave of Covid-19 should not prevent their business. During her interview with one of the leading Bengali vernacular newspapers, Laskar said that the income of 60,000 sex workers all over the state, who are also members of her organization, had been completely devastated by the last two waves. Most of them survived with the help of several relief programs conducted by the organization and loans given by their only registered cooperative society. The Usha Multipurpose Co-operative and Credit Society is the only cooperative of sex workers. Apart from giving economic strength, the cooperative also ensures to get social security services entitled to them.
This research project examines how a vulnerable migrant community fights for their right to honor and self-determination through this cooperative. The research also addresses the politics of touchlessness during the pandemic that affected the vulnerable section of the urban migrant labours such as sex workers and how they tried to overcome it. The research is based on primary interviews with sex workers, medical practitioners working with the community, and government officials. It uses the theoretical framework of post-colonial migration and the role of class in neoliberal societies.