Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, July 5:
Even as the controversy over non-government organisations (NGOs) stalling projects and thereby slowing down India’s annual economic growth is yet to die down, shocking revelation has come to the fore of many NGOs unscrupulously engaging destitute and poor women to act as commercial sex workers to illegally raise funds from the Odisha government.
Replying to a question by Congress MLA Bhujabal Majhi, Health Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak had recently admitted in the Assembly that reports had indeed reached the government about NGOs engaging destitute and poor women to act as commercial sex workers to raise funds from the Odisha State Aids Control Society (OSACS).
The data, revealed through the RTI said the NGOs have apparently embezzled lakhs of rupees through Targeted Interventions (TI) programme designed to reach out high risk HIV/AIDS groups in 2012-13 and 2013-14.
The NGOs sent a group of housewives for blood tests to government hospitals. As per the requirement, NGOs should refer commercial sex workers they have enrolled to the government hospital for blood tests regularly. This is to make sure they aren’t HIV positive.
The NGOs get up to Rs 16 lakh if they have 1,500 commercial sex workers enrolled for the project. They have to create awareness, distribute condoms and refer the sex workers for regular medical check-ups.
The name of housewives were registered as sex workers without their knowledge and processed to secure funds from the government while some women agreed to act as commercial sex workers because the NGOs helped them get money from government schemes, sources said.
The NGOs which have received fund from the government on such dubious grounds are Medics, Centre for Weaker Society Development, PVO, Sellowship, Social Awareness Institution, OMRAH, Society for Welfare of Weaker Section, Jan Sansadhan, TSRDS etc, the sources said.