Can’t Quit

If opportunities are open to us, why would we sell our bodies…

“In 2012, I was diagnosed as HIV+; it was the most shocking thing for me at that time” shares Ali also known as Meegha, a 21 year old transgender. Meegha belongs to the low socioeconomic segment of society who opened her eyes in intense poverty in the slums of Karachi.

“I was introduced to sex work at the age of 17 by a much older friend who was also a transgender from the same area I lived in with my family”. The reason Meegha got into sex work was extreme poverty and her feminine appearance because of which she was unable to get any work.

According to Meegha, majority of transgenders who are involved in sex work didn’t know about HIV/AIDS until community based organizations started working on the issue and giving awareness to the community about this dangerous disease and how to protect yourself from it.

“When I was diagnosed as HIV+, I thought about quitting sex work but I wasn’t able to because of the burden of responsibility on my shoulders of supporting my family and lack of other work opportunities. I know that I am putting my own and other people’s health in jeopardy: I do use all safety measures during sex but still the risk remains depending on the clients and their preferences.”

“The Government is not taking the HIV/AIDS epidemic within concentrated populations very seriously. The Government is also not taking any major steps for the betterment of the Trans Community and doesn’t provide enough opportunities for earning money so that’s why as much as we want to, we can’t quit sex work”.

“I really don’t like to do sex work. I wish I could find a job where I can earn a respectable living and support my family. But our society does not accept us and does not give us the respect we deserve as human beings. If opportunities are open to us, why would we sell our bodies?!”

By: Kamran Anwar (Kami)

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Can’t Quit