India’s sex trade exposed

On the streets of Kamathipura young women stand ready and available, looking to lure their next customer. They pose, they smile, some wave. They look terribly young, their faces heavy with make-up. Many are dressed in Western clothes, others in traditional saris. In this red light district of Mumbai, they stand on the kerbside in front of grimy shacks containing the beds on which they do their work. There is the hustle and chaos of the traffic, the clogged roads, the constant noise. And there is terrible sadness too.

By Andrew Buncombe
The Independent (UK)

“I was tricked here. I was in love with a man and I came here with him. But when I got here, he sold me,” says Simla, a 42-year-old prostitute, originally from Nepal. She has two children and she saves what little she earns to send them to school, desperate that they do not follow her into the sex industry. “I was fooled into this. I will not allow my children to do it.”

Sex costs little on the frenetic streets of India’s business capital, where people come and go all the time. New arrivals wash up from India’s poor rural hinterland, desperate for work, any sort of work. Men – who are used to a repressed, conservative culture – come and stand and stare. There is a near-constant flow. A young woman might be able to charge a customer 100 rupees (£1.30) a time, but an older woman might only get 30 rupees (40 pence). When a woman demands that a customer use a condom, the price is usually lowered as a result.

These women and their customers are at the forefront of India’s Aids crisis. The country has up to three million people living with HIV, the third-highest total in the world. Experts say that the most important danger in the spread of HIV comes from the relatively high numbers of men who go to sex workers, who do not use condoms and whose jobs involve them travelling. As a result, both sex workers and India’s legions of horn-blaring truck drivers are among the groups most persistently targeted by health workers and educators trying to push the message of safe sex.

Related:
The Insidious Nature of Human Trafficking: Vietnam

Read the rest:
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/love-sex/sex-industry/
indias-sex-trade-exposed-1036578.html

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One Response to “India’s sex trade exposed”

  1. Tomas Eric Nordlander Says:

    • 12-year old Laxmi* was lured by her classmates to travel to Kolkata (capital of West Bengal, a state in India) for a picnic and later sold in the train.

    • 10-year old Sneha* accompanied her 16 year-old sister Surya* to the dream city Mumbai in search of a job. Surya works as a domestic help while Sneha is hired for zari / embroidery work.

    • Ramesh*, a 15-year old rag-picker is missing. His neighbours say they saw him being chatting with a drug-addict.
    * names changed to protect identity

    Young children go missing from the small towns and villages in India. Some run-away on being lured by the dreams of the big city, while others are carried away to be sold for meager gains…

    The birth of a child (read male) in India meant celebration. Sweets are distributed and the atmosphere is one of merriment.Neighbours and relatives greet the parents and the new born baby is showered with blessings and gifts. Children are considered as God’s gift to the family. While this is true and relevant in many parts of India and the world at large, a stark reality hits us when we read the newspapers and are informed about the alarming rate at which children go missing from their homes and the increasing number of child labourers found in every sector of employment.

    A child is one of the worst marginalized sections in the societal spectrum. Children are found in most realms of institutions, and more so in places they are not supposed to be. Child soldiers, child sex workers, child labourers, bonded labourers, child brides, rag pickers, beggars, manual scavengers, domestic workers, camel jockeys in dangerous races etc.

    The above is an extract from Aileen S. Marques essay “Innocence Interred!!!”. This essay was ranked among the top three essays in Human Rights Defence’s Essay competition 2008. If you would like to read more, visit: http://www.humanrightsdefence.org

    Yours sincerely,

    Dr Tomas Eric Nordlander
    HumanRightsDefence
    http://www.humanrightsdefence.org

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