14 June, 2021

Soulless Traffick Shown The Palm

They are friends indeed, of women scorned—helping to empower and rehabilitate them

Soulless Traffick Shown The Palm
In the late ’80s, two government officials, then district coordinators of the Total Literacy Project, were interacting with villagers in Mysore district when a woman snubbed them as fly-by-night operators who didn’t really care for people like her. The rest of the crowd told them to ignore her since she was a social outcast...a sex worker! But the truth in the woman’s remark rang true to their ears. It led K.V. Stanly and M.L. Parashuram to give up their jobs to establish the Odanadi Seva Samsthe (OSS).

Before founding Odanadi, they surveyed the socio-economic conditions of sex workers in Mysore district. Odanadi, meaning ‘soulmate’ in Kannada, was registered as a trust in 1992 and since then has been engaged in the rehabilitation and empowerment of the victims of commercial sex.

To start with, Odanadi decided to establish wide-ranging, direct contact with the women—no easy task, as it turned out. With no financial support, they had to surmount public scepticism, derision and active hostility. People whose interests were jeopardised, like moneylenders, pimps,...

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