I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved. – Dr B R Ambedkar
“Sahib ladki chahiye kya? Saste mein dila dunga”(Sir, do you want a girl? I’ll get you one for cheap.) came a voice from the behind when first time I had visited Dalhousie – hill station in HP – back in the summer of year 2004. It was my first ever encounter to such a situation, I ignored the person and kept on moving but I couldn’t ignore the words that person had said. Since then, I’ve sometimes tried to imagine a life of prostitute. Have you ever wondered about a prostitute’s life? Did you know that at present there are more slaves than any-time in the world history? Saddening but truth is that we are living in a “Slave World”. No matter the slaves are from bonded labor, farms or flesh trade, all these forms of slavery put big question marks on our nation integrity.
Story of Metropolitan Cities: New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai
Did you know that sex industry is one of the biggest ($100billions per year) and fastest growing (criminal) industries? It has grown 17 times in last 15 years.
Falkland Road, Mumbai (Photo Credit: Mary Ellen Mark)
My second encounter with sex workers was in year 2008, the time when I was in Mumbai. One evening, I was with one of my friend and we were walking down the street. My friends knew the girls standing along the side of road are sex workers and we stopped just few meters away from those girls. We wanted to see the way system works; few men in the car came and stopped in-front of the sex workers and both parties started talking, after few seconds girl jumped into the car and car flew away to the undisclosed located or to the renowned hotel! This incident made me more curious about the lives of sex workers. I wanted to know the conditions in which these girls work – nobody wants to be a victim of violence – what made these girls sex workers and what Indian Governments are doing to prevent this dreadful trade.
So, to fulfill my quest I decided to visit, read and talk to my friends about the places where flesh trade goes on. I knew a decent person will never company me and righteous person will look at me with the eyes of suspicion (no-matter how many times they might have dipped their beaks and satisfied their balls), so very few friends worked with me.
Prostitution is a reality and if you get a chance, try to visit the GB road – red light areas in Delhi – the capital of India, it’s just across the railway station but is the mysterious world, or give a visit to Sonagachi – red light area of Kolkata – another business hub of India or the story of notorious Flakland road of Mumbai or Kamthipura is not so unknown to all. Sonagachi is named after in-famous Sufi saint Sona Ghazi – he wouldn’t have ever imagined in his wildest dreams that he will become (in)famous for such things one day!
People from all strata of society – leaders of society, students, blue, white collar professionals, rickshaw pullers, almost people from every profession – visit these red light areas to satisfy the uneasiness of their balls and do hanky-panky!