Kamathipura – the dirt uncovered

Kamathipura in Mumbai, India, is Asia’s largest red-light district. It was set up 200 years ago for British troops who wanted some erotic “comforts” while they were away from home.

For centuries people have turned to Kamathipura for a cheap and easy way to fulfil their desires – but do they really know what they are encountering in the pursuit of pleasure?

Instead of finding a sexually mature consenting woman, those who visit are more likely to encounter a child, a modern-day slave, unpaid and abused.

It is not necessary to dig deep to uncover the truth about Kamathipura. Since the 19th century, a large proportion of the women who work there have been trafficked and exploited.

Nothing has changed. The women are still deceived or forced into abusive and dangerous situations, made to work far from home in the network of brothels commonly known to tourists as “the cages”.

 Take a look at these facts…. 

  • There are currently approximately 5000 sex workers in Kamathipura, the majority of which have been trafficked.
  • Up to 90% have a sexually transmitted infection.
  • Approximately 70% are HIV positive.
  • The average age of entry into Kamathipura is 12 (but its often as young as 7).

 “Every vile desire a man could dream of was for sale and child virgins were the region’s most noted delicacy.” These are the words of the maker of documentary The Day My God Died. The traffickers barely bother to try and hide the exploitation – it is obvious.

 Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1beOGLfqxA for a short but interesting clip about the subject.

My question is this…..  If the exploitation is SO obvious (which it is – think young, really young girls…..), why do people keep going? How is it allowed to continue?

 Any thoughts?  

Info from “Gender-based violence among female sex workers of Kamathipura, Mumbai, India: A contextual analysis”. Sharvari Karadikar, 2010-06-30


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