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Sex workers who were recently evicted from a brothel in Tangail, along with sex workers who were similarly evicted a year ago in Madaripur, demanded the right to return to their homes during a protest organised by the Sex Workers Network SWN of Bangladesh yesterday. Sex workers and their civil society allies formed a human chain at the National Press Club yesterday where their spokespersons said they had been evicted without warning and under duress.
Speakers said on July 10, the followers of the mayor of Tangail had given them a three-hour ultimatum to vacate the brothel premises. After the power was cut, the brothel workers left the premises, fearing for their lives.
The mayor of Tangail denied the allegations made against him. They left the brothel willingly. Their organization never contacted me about their demands. Forced eviction is a violation. How could I, an elected representative, force them out of their homes? Aklima Akhter Akhi, leader of the Tangail brothel, said: Even when sex workers were fleeing the brothel in fear for their lives and I asked the mayor to intervene, he did nothing.
Some influential residents of the area tried to have the brothel evicted in But protests by sex workers and support from the district administration helped the sex workers remain where they were. The protesters demanded the government and local administration step in to help them.
They also raised issues regarding ambiguities in the law to be eliminated, for street-walking sex workers to not be arrested, for allocations in the national budget to improve the lives of sex workers and their children, and to protect sex workers from being evicted from brothels.