It’s evening time. The sounds of honking, curses, and Hindi film songs from the 1990s decorate the ambiance. Women—of all ages—are posing in front of matchbox-sized shanties. Frustrated, angry, hungry and evil men are ogling these women. Police vans are taking rounds. The local beer bar is overcrowded. Few men with a filthy look in the eye and filmi-language, walking around the street to hunt potential customers. And at late hours of the night, one minor girl is dragged out of a kaali-peeli taxi and bashed. She’s crying for help but no one comes to her resue. She’s taken inside a matchbox-sized shanty and closed in the room. The room is filled with smoke and in a little while, you hear a loud lament followed by a long scream.
This is a typical scene of any red light area of India.
I have visited several red light areas in India; especially the Kamathipura area of Mumbai. I have visited this hell-paradise quite a few times, a couple of time as a customer but mostly as a company to naughty friends. a few naughty friends many times. I used to sit outside and talk to other customers or other prostitutes while friends would do their act.
Then one fine day, one of my friends, who was doing a research on human trafficking and illegal sex trade, wanted to visit places in Mumbai to do her homework. I took her to several places in Mumbai—Falkland Road, Shukla Street, Congress House, Pila House, Master Wadi, Darukhana, Ghatkopar Station Lane, Space Garden, Unity Compound, and many more I can’t even remember.
Along with her, I also got to know about the life of a prostitute. I heard heart-ripping stories; each one more painful than the previous. I made quite a few friends and we would go out at night.
Shabnam was one such friend.
She was forced into prostitution. She was sold for INR 20,000 by a relative who promised her a job in the city of dreams. She was bashed, raped every day until she surrendered; after a few weeks of torture. She was given dozes of steroid to look voluptuous and beaten every time she said no to sex. She would be forced to have sex with 30-40 customers every day, and her share was mere INR 10.
The story inside the brothel is usually not something that surprises us but I was shocked to know that men wouldn’t come for sex most of the time. Shabnam told us that men usually came to talk, beat, torture her. They came to remove their frustration, irritation, and anger that can’t find an outlet elsewhere. She cleared our misconception of sexual gratification and explained to us that the main purpose is usually a vulgar display of power.
It’s shocking but true.
It’s a big bad business.
These men find this place perfect to express their emotions. Some just talk and cry during their session with a prostitute. Perhaps if tearful little boys were comforted instead of being shamed, they wouldn’t be angry men struggling to express and empathize with their emotions.
And if you have not heard about paid-rape, you should visit such hell-paradise once in your life. Customers pay thousands of rupees to deflower a young virgin girl. Most of these girls are victims of the Devadasi culture, extreme poverty leads to the family selling off their young virgin daughters to brothel owners.
All this in the name of lust.
The sex trade industry is the engineering for inhumanity. It’s far worse than we can ever imagine. The worst part is that it’s happening almost everywhere in the world. Frustrated, angry, hungry and evil men are crushing the dignity of innocent women in name of self-gratification.
Some die there. Some retire as a prostitute and become the manager. Some run away. Some are killed. Some become a documentary or a blog post. There’s no escape for them from the brothel because even after they come out of one, the society puts them in an even bigger—and deadlier—social brothel.