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This article argues for the need to change the ways in which anti-human trafficking (AT) non-government organisations (NGOs) and their interventions in India frame and address violence in sex work. The article asserts that AT NGOs need to move beyond their ideological allegiances and infuse their interventions with a better understanding of the lived realities of women who are coerced into sex work. This argument is based on an analysis of women’s pathways out of sex work in Eastern India, which include both finding independent routes, and also reliance on AT interventions. The research suggests that AT interventions need to acknowledge the centrality of social relationships in women’s lives and experiences of violence. Social relations influence women’s entry into sex work, affect their experiences within it, and shape their pathways out of sex work.

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