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Mizo housewives fast falling prey to HIV/AIDS

Last Updated: Friday, October 30, 2009 - 00:00

Aizawl: More and more housewives in Mizoram are falling prey to Aids due to no fault of their own, but their husbands who comprise a large percentage of the clientale of female sex workers.

A study conducted by an NGO has revealed that at least 80 per cent of the clients of female commercial sex workers in Aizawl city are married men who are indulging in alarming rate of HIV/AIDS infections amongst the previously thought no-risk
group of society - mostly those who are religious in nature and otherwise `clean`.

The New Life Home Society, which is an Aizawl-based NGO reaching out to 294 female sex workers, conducted a study of them recently and found that they could be classified into three categories - street-based, mobile phone-based and home-based.

N. Samuel, Project Manager of the New Life Home Society (NLHS) says that 156 out of the 294 sex workers are looking for customers in the streets of the capital city while 110 are getting their clients through mobile phones and cabbies and 28 of them received their customers at home.

There are three sex workers who are in the age group of 10 to 15 and 58 between the ages of 16 and 20 while the highest age-group, 21-25 has 94 people, followed by 79 of the 26-30 age group, Samuel says.

He said there were 40 of them in the age group of 31-35, six in the age group of 36-40 and four above 40 years old.

There are 142 unmarried girls amongst the 294 sex workers in the city while 127 are divorcees and 25 are selling their bodies without the knowledge of their spouses, the study reveals.

``My earlier assumption that majority of the female sex workers in Aizawl are from villages seeking jobs and city life is wrong as only 46 are from the villages while 248 are
brought up in the city,`` he said quoting the study.

He says that 221 operate from their respective homes living with their families while 73 are not living with their family members or relatives, but stalking the streets to receive money and also a room for a night or so through their customers.

Marital status of the customers of these sex workers is what worries the NGO as at least 80 per cent are married men.

``Out of the married men, 60 per cent are local tribals and 20 per cent are married people from outside the state, meaning non-tribals,`` the study says adding that there are 15 per
cent of middle-aged customers, out of which 10 per cent are Mizos and five per cent are non-Mizos.

Well-known social worker P L Liandinga says that the problem can be traced to 20 years of insurgency between 1966 and 1986 during which period Mizo people suffered not only
politically, but also economically and socially.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, October 30, 2009 - 00:00
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