Monday, August 20, 2007

India: Sex Industry Perturbed, Pressured + Poignant

NEW DEHLI, INDIA -- A dark gloom hovers over the red light area of New Delhi. Hundreds of women stare out of dingy pigeonholes with preening eyes. Who will be their next client, what will they experience and if here is a hope for them when they cross the age of 35 and experience the hatred and stigma pushed on them by society?

Most sex workers in the country are victims of poverty, guilt, sexually transmitted diseases and live a life that is worse than death. They succumb to dire circumstances and have no platform to voice their concerns. They are constantly subjugated to violence and abuse and their plight is never-ending.

Welcome to Kamathipura, a flourishing red light district in Mumbai. This is the hub of the AIDS epidemic in India which affects more than four and a half million people. Over 60,000 sex workers live in Kamathipura and more than 50 per cent of them are HIV positive.

The sex workers in these areas have been sold by their family members or have been tricked in the trade. Their lives lay barren and ragged. They are victims of the society as well as of those who use them for a few minutes of physical saturation. What goes unnoticed is the quandary and challenges faced by these women...


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