Gates Foundation To Help India’s Red-Light Workers
Greg Levine, 08.19.05, 12:31 PM ET
NEW YORK – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is building a bridge from the postmodern information age to the world’s oldest profession.
The charitable group created by the billionaire chairman of Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFT – news – people ) helped distribute dollars, water and medicine to victims of last year’s South Asian tsunami; it funds initiatives to fight malaria and other epidemics in Africa. Bill Gates’ group donates computer equipment to schools, helping those just starting out to get a head start on life.
Now the foundation is offering a hand to those who’ve already seen a bit too much.
Backed by the Gates Foundation, the Tamil Nadu AIDS Initiative will soon launch a series of training programs for red-light workers in the Tamil Nadu state of India. TAI will not merely distribute medicines and prophylactics, but will also work on changing the behaviors of those in India’s X-rated industries. But not merely via well-meaning, saccharine phrases.
TAI project director Dr. R. Lakshmi Bai told a press conference that thanks to the foundation’s donations, TAI will help train sex workers switch to legitimate industries. Further, it’ll help arrange bank loans so those who choose the straight-and-narrow path can then create small businesses in the field of their training. Sweet charity.