International Sex Workers Day: A tribute to Smarajit Jana who helped children of sex workers via football
The one name which stands out for his works towards the upliftment of sex-workers is Dr. Smarajit Jana, who passed away last month in Kolkata.
Sex Workers are one of the most exploited people across the globe. They receive little to no respect just because of their profession and are treated in the most inhumane way possible.
The International Sex Workers Day was started as a result of this exploitation to draw the attention of the world to the way sex workers live and are treated. It was first celebrated on 2nd June 1975 and has since been celebrated annually on the same day.
Sex workers being exploited to the fullest by people is nothing new in India. It has been happening for years in the country and not many have tried to bring forth any reforms.
But, the one name which stands out for his works towards the upliftment of sex workers is Dr. Smarajit Jana, who passed away last month in Kolkata.
Dr. Jana established the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Samiti – a collective of around 65,000 sex-workers in the state of West Bengal. The Samiti was established in the year 1992 in Sonagachi, the largest red-light district in Kolkata.
Through the organisation, Dr. Jana used the sport of football to provide a better life to the children of sex workers. He set up the Durbar Sports Academy which helped the children of sex workers associated with the Samiti to learn and practice football. In fact, the under-12, under-15 and the second division of team of the academy located in Ramnagar was a huge success.
The DSA went from being a football coaching camp to a full-fledged residential football academy in the year 2015. Such was DSA's stature that it even had children from mainstream society from all across West Bengal coming to train.
Apart from being a sex worker's rights advocate and women's right's activist, Dr. Jana was a renowned epidemiologist who was associated with the John Hopkins University, Michigan University and others for a major part of his career.
Besides, he was also working as a member of India's National Covid-19 Task Force when he breathed his last on 8th May 2021.