DHAKA, July 13, 2018 (BSS) – Hazera Begum, a 47-year-old former sex worker, has made a turnaround in her life by working for changing the lot of children left by other sex workers.
She runs an organization called ‘Shishuder Janyo Amra’ at Sunibir Housing Society in the city’s Mohammadpur area, where more than 150 children left by other sex workers are growing up.
All of them are receiving education at different primary and secondary schools, she said, adding that a voluntary students’ group of Jahangirnagar University (JU) teaches the children two days a week.
Hazera started the organization in 2010 in cooperation with a teacher and a group of volunteers of Jahangirnagar University (JU) at Uttar Rajasan at Savar on capital Dhaka’s outskirts.
Speaking about her initiation of the organization, Hazera said once she was employed at a childcare center to look after the children of sex workers. It was run by ‘Durjoy Bangla’, a non-government organization that worked for floating sex workers.
But, the childcare centre was shut down later. By working for such abandoned children, she got inspired to do something different for the children, she added.
“I spent my childhood on street. During the period, I saw offspring of many sex workers were stolen. I saw girl children of sex workers usually get engaged in their mothers’ profession. They fell victim of torture and molestation on street,” said Hazara.
She said “I had a dream to work for the betterment of such children.”
“Although the people usually humiliate the sex workers and their children, but now attitude of the society towards sex workers are changing,” she added.
Hazara said at the age of ten years she ran away from her step mother’s family at a slum in Mirpur and came to Gulistan when she was only seven years old. But she could not return home as she forgot her family address.
During her life under the open sky, she was sold out and found herself at a brothel, she said, adding that she was working as a floating sex worker.
Later, she turned her life around and took a job at CARE Bangladesh, a Non Government Organization (NGO). While working at CARE Bangladesh, she took various training and visited about 12 countries during.
Childless Hazera has now become a mother of children of other sex workers. She is now happy with her work.
National Social Welfare Council’s research and publications officer Wahida Akhter told BSS that the government has been working to bring scope for self-reliance for elderly sex workers.
He said a survey was also conducted on reviewing present context of retired sex workers.
The survey suggested steps be taken to create scope for employment for those who were involved in sex work.