1996 – Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP) founded, India

members of VAMP march down a sunlit street
VAMP members marching in commemoration of the birthday of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, a social reformer.

The Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP) collective is a women sex worker-led organisation, which was established in 1996 in South Maharashtra/Northern Karnataka, India.

VAMP evolved from Sampada Gramin Mahila Sanstha (SANGRAM), a grassroots organisation which focuses on HIV/AIDS in rural contexts.

In 1992, SANGRAM began a peer education program for sex workers, utilising a rights based framework which aimed to create a common identity and sense of solidarity amongst women sex workers to empower them to recognise, demand and assert their full range of rights as well as protect themselves from HIV.

In 1996, VAMP was founded to take over SANGRAM’s sex worker peer education program. According to a SANGRAM staff member, VAMP staff and members had the capacity to identify, develop and manage peer education and community development initiatives; however, VAMP leaders identified that they lacked the confidence to undertake organisational administrative duties such as writing funding proposals, undertaking paperwork and dealing with the Charity Commission. Subsequently, VAMP and SANGRAM agreed to work collaboratively, with VAMP independently developing and managing community-led projects and SANGRAM providing administrative support to VAMP when requested.

Since forming, VAMP has continually worked across 6 districts within the Indian states of Maharashtra and Karnataka. These districts include Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur, Solapur, Bagalkot and Belgaum. VAMP is based in Sangli district, which has the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS in Maharashtra after the state’s capital, Mumbai.