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Wednesday, December 15, 1999

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Rehab centre for prostitutes in Mysore

MYSORE, DEC 14: A rehabilitation programme to wean away around 80 women from the flesh trade is taking shape at Chamundi Hills.

The rehabilitation centre, Shakthidhama, the brainchild of Suttur Math seer Shivarathi Deshikendra Swami, Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar and his wife Parvathamma is nearing completion on a plot of 1.5 acres of land.

Inmates below 35 years would be enrolled at the centre and would be counselled in the first round to keep them from going back to prostitition.Jayadev, managing trustee of Shakthidhama, speaking to The Indian Express said: ``Women involved in prostitution in the city and outskirts would be taken in.'' A two-year stay in the centre, he said, would train the women in skilled work to make them financially independent.

After a preliminary medical check-up, they would be trained in literacy programme, book binding, preparation of bakery products. On the daily routine, he said counselling on environment protection, regular prayers would also be a part.

Social workers andcounsellors at the centre will regularly hold sessions to mould the inmates' personality. And the returns from the sale of handicraft goods produced at the centre would be deposited in the individual accounts of the inmates, they claimed.

Nursery classes are also being planned for children of the inmates. For those who have contracted AIDS, the centre would keep in touch with voluntaryorganisations working on the issue.

A premier research institute in Mysore, CFTRI, has come forward to offer training to the inmates in preparing bakery products and the Zilla Panchayat will install solar heaters and the District Industrial Centres will provide book binding machines at 50 per cent subsidy.

In a bid to check migration of destitute women from rural to urban areas, Jaydev has planned to start a rural development wing with the assistance of the Central Government and United Nation Population Fund (UNPF). Health camps, awareness camps on hygiene, environment and community participation in development ofvillages would also be held.

He further pointed out that the scourge should be checked at its root and rural development programmes ``would make the vulnerable group, take up alternative profession''. He opined that if it is not checked at its roots, influx into the city for flesh trade would continue.

Case-sheets at three stages would provide enough inputs about the behavioural change of the inmates, he said adding that a confidential report would be maintained by the counsellors. The data collected on the reasons for women taking up prostitution would help in checking new entrants.

On the response to the centre, he said many victims of the flesh trade have already approached and have evinced interest in the programme. They have come to make a fresh start and the centre would provide it, he further stated.

Besides this, the centre has planned to construct an `all religions hall' without sticking to religious strictures. The rehabilitation centre has drawn the attention of many non-governmentalorganisations.

Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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