Kolkata: Sex workers of Kolkata's largest red-light area are being given training by an NGO to identify fake currency notes to prevent them from being duped by some clients. The training programme conducted by Durbar Mahila Samanaya Committee, an NGO working for the sex workers, is the same as that given to visually challenged persons who learn to distinguish between genuine and counterfeit notes through touch and from hearing the faint rustle of the paper.
In the last few months there have been several instances of customers slipping counterfeit notes to sex workers taking advantage of dim lighting at brothels in the Sonagachi red-light area, an NGO member said. Most of them realised they were duped only when they went to deposit their earnings at the USHA Bank, a bank set-up for betterment and development of their living conditions. "There have been several instances where customers assed on counterfeit notes to sex workers, some of whom are unaware of them," said Bharati, a member of the Durbar Mahila Samanaya Committee.
"It came to light only when they went to the bank to deposit their money," she said. According to a sex worker, it is the first time customers who are the ones passing on counterfeit notes the most. "In most of the cases I received counterfeit notes from first time customers. I did not notice because they took advantage of the dim lighting in the cubicles at Sonagachi," she said.
Another sex worker said that most new customers who slip counterfeit notes at the red-light area are from Bangladesh. Several Bangladeshi nationals were held in the last two months by the Special Task Force of the Kolkata Police for possessing fake Indian currencies. According to Durbar the once a week training session in conducted for over 10,000 sex workers at Sonagachi to teach them to distinguish between genuine and fake notes given to them in poor light conditions.
Bharati, said the training is the same as that given to the visually challenged to distinguish between the real and the counterfeit by listening or touching the notes. "We are also educating them about the way a real note feels when taken in hand," she said. The training has already borne fruit with Bharati saying, "Two sex workers a few days ago caught some customers who were trying to give them fake notes."