Page last updated at 05:12 GMT, Thursday, 1 May 2008 06:12 UK

India sex workers get life cover

Sex workers in Calcutta
Sex workers in India already run cooperative banks

For the first time, some 250 female sex workers in the eastern Indian city of Calcutta have been given life insurance cover by a state-owned company.

Activists think this is a step forward in sex workers' long campaign to have the profession legalised in India.

Although illegal, prostitution is a thriving business in many cities and towns across India.

It is estimated that there are more than two million female sex workers in the country.

Sex workers in Calcutta and the western Indian city of Mumbai have already set up highly successful cooperative banks for the community to deposit their earnings.

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