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Every day girls are bought and sold in Delhi’s red light areas: DCW

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A 16-year-old girl stands inside a protection home on the outskirts of New Delhi November 9, 2012. She was working as a maid and was later rescued by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement), a charity which rescues victims of bonded labour. There are no reliable figures for how many people are trafficked for domestic servitude. The Indian government says 126,321 trafficked children were rescued from domestic work in 2011/12, a rise of almost 27 percent from the previous year. Activists say if you include women over 18 years, the figure could run into the hundreds of thousands. Picture taken November 9, 2012. To match Feature INDIA-TRAFFICKING/ REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal (INDIA - Tags: SOCIETY POVERTY) - RTR3B6H0
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By Nita Bhalla

Siliguri (Thomson Reuters Foundation): Girls and women trafficked from the poorest states in India and sold for sexual exploitation to brothels in the Indian capital face a sad and horrible life with little hope of escaping, a senior Delhi government official said on Friday.

Swati Maliwal, head of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), said she had recently visited the city’s red light district of Garstin Bastion Road, popularly known as G.B. Road, where she was shocked by the lack of support given to sex workers.

“Every day, girls and women are being brought there. They are bought and sold there for between 5,000 rupees and 100,000 rupees ($75 to $1,500) depending on whether they are virgins or not,” Maliwal told an anti-trafficking event in the eastern town of Siliguri.

“They are forced to sleep with up to 30 men daily. Most of the time, they are not given any money as most of it goes to the pimp. It is extremely sad and cannot be justified in independent India. It’s just horrible.”

Almost 36 million people are enslaved worldwide — trafficked into brothels, forced into manual labor, victims of debt bondage or even born into servitude, says the 2014 Global Slavery Index.

Almost half – 16 million – are in India. Many are from poor rural regions and are lured with the promise good jobs or marriage, but end up sold into domestic work, prostitution, or industries such as brick kilns or textile units.

Maliwal, who was appointed in July as chairperson of the DCW – a government body which focuses on implementing the safeguards provided for women under the constitution – said little had been done in the past to protect trafficked sex workers.

Despite a committee being set up in 2012 to look into anti-trafficking measures and rehabilitation in Delhi, she said, the committee had not met once until October last year when she had pushed for it.

“I really don’t understand how the highest levels of the government could do something like that. We had a meeting in October and some good decisions have now come out of it,” Maliwal told the gathering of civil society organizations, lawyers, judges and government officials.

“Delhi doesn’t have a rehabilitation policy, there is no restoration policy for victims and now after this committee met, we are trying to work on it,” she added.

The DCW is also starting a pilot project where it will partner with the private sector and select up to 50 rescued women and girls to provide them with training and jobs as well as set up residential schools for the children of sex workers.

Maliwal said she also found many other problems faced by the 5,000 sex workers residing in G.B. Road which she said could be easily resolved.

Despite an estimated 600,000 condoms being used monthly, none had been distributed by the government for five months due a “technical glitch,” she said.

“This is very strange and very sorry. You can imagine that if 600,000 condoms are normally being used there, and then there are none, the kind of infection that might spread. It is almost like an epidemic that we are creating,” said Maliwal.

“We have now issued a notice and ensured that condoms are being distributed.”

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  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    It’s a harsh reality! But how saddening that government knows but takes no step against anything.

  • Manthra koliyer

    This proves the value and respect the nation shows towards women

Next Story

8 Largest Red Light Areas In India Where Only Prostitution Is Sustainability

According to a report, there is almost 10 million sex worker in India.

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The place Sonagachi holds the title of Asia’s largest red light area which is located in Kolkata. Wikimedia Commons
The place Sonagachi holds the title of Asia’s largest red light area which is located in Kolkata. Wikimedia Commons

The act of prostitution is going on since ages and it’s still a surviving occupation for many. For lots of girls, it’s a harsh reality but there is very little that they can do about it. Many of the girls are forced into prostitution and some have to choose it because they have no other place to go. Although, prostitution is illegal in India but it is certainly prevalent in our society.

The Land of Kama Sutra
Due to India’s legacy in sex and prostitution, there are some of the largest and infamous red light areas where prostitution is a way of living. Such a place automatically becomes a hot spot for many other criminal activities too. According to a report, there is almost 10 million sex worker in India. The prime clientele of prostitutes includes migrant workers or people who are staying away from their home.

The red light areas in India are the only means of keeping the body and soul together for many of the sex workers. Wikimedia Commons
The red light areas in India are the only means of keeping the body and soul together for many of the sex workers. Wikimedia Commons

There are many cases where a girl turns into prostitution just for the sake of raising some money for their respective families. Some girls are lured into good jobs in big cities and then they are been sold off to pimps and brokers at different brothels. The news of abduction of girls are very common in India and then no one knows whereabouts of them. In very few cases, the police are able to locate the victim.

Even in some cases, parents sell their babies to earn some quick bucks for a very paltry sum. The red light areas in India are the only means of keeping the body and soul together for many of the sex workers.

Take a look at the list of such red light areas situated in India:

Sonagachi, Kolkata
The place Sonagachi holds the title of Asia’s largest red light area which is located in Kolkata. Sonagachi is a mysterious place in itself. As per a survey, this place is home to almost 11,000 sex workers. The harsh reality of Sonagachi red light area is very hard to swallow. The Oscar-winning documentary, Born into Brothels, has brought out the very reality of this place.

Kamathipura, Mumbai
Kamathipura stands second, only after Sonagachi in terms of the number of sex workers working at a place. It is also the oldest red light area of Mumbai. The dilapidated condition of this place will send shivers to anyone visiting here for the very first. The place also houses a beedi factory in its surrounding been owned by women. The place is quite famous due to its visitors like Haji Mastan and Dawood Ibrahim.

There the word Kamathis means workers and hence the place got its first name. Wikimedia Commons
There the word Kamathis means workers and hence the place got its first name. Wikimedia Commons

Kamthipura is also known by the name of Grant Road’s Red light Area. But initially, Kamthipura was known as Lal Bazaar because of its workers. There the word Kamathis means workers and hence the place got its first name. The number of sex workers has reduced to only a few thousand as compared to when it was started.

Budhwar Peth, Pune
Budhwar Peth shortly follows the Sonagachi and Kamathipura in the prostitution business. There are expected five thousand of sex workers working in the shabby lanes of Budhwar Peth.Other than prostitution, the place is also known for being a hub for electronic goods and books.

The shady lights of this red light area make it more difficult to survive and lack of law enforcement agencies adds more agony to it.

G.B. Road, Delhi
Almost every person who has ever visited Delhi must have come across the name of G.B. Road. The place is Delhi’s largest red light area and is quite famous for the hundreds of brothels along the streets.

The place also houses many vehicle parts, wholesale dealers. So, anyone who knows about this place is not necessarily related to prostitution.

Chaturbhujsthan, Muzaffarpur
Chaturbhujsthan is a red light area in Muzaffarpur and interestingly, this place is located right next to an old temple. People believe that this setup has been in continuation since ages and thus it makes sense as to why prostitution is still going strong.

The shady lights of the red light areas make it more difficult to survive and lack of law enforcement agencies adds more agony to it. Wikimedia Commons
The shady lights of the red light areas make it more difficult to survive and lack of law enforcement agencies adds more agony to it. Wikimedia Commons

Itwari, Nagpur
Itwari is a quite popular place among the sex workers and the criminals in Nagpur. In most of the red light areas, criminal activities and prostitution go side by side and this place is no different. The place is also known by the name Ganga Jamuna.

Shivdaspur, Varanasi
This red light area is intact since ancient times and this place is more like a village rather than a locality. But in the past couple of years, this place is seen losing its sheen due to lack of the number of sex workers. The village is home to many cheap brothels been run by the locals.

Baina, Goa
Goa being a holiday destination is supposed to cater the prostitution business and getting customers over here is not that difficult. Baina is a well-known red light area in Goa. Here, pimps bring the customer from bus stands, railway stations and markets, after that the deal is been made.

Although in 2004, the government raided all the properties of Baina beach and tried to root out the prostitution business but still it’s prevalent.