Caged until ‘broken’: existence for Mumbai’s prostitutes

Route 4 News benefits special entry to brothels in Mumbai, where trafficked women include keep in cages like slaves to avoid all of them operating aside – and just permitted over to have sexual intercourse with consumers.

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It actually was pitch black as I came through labyrinth in the dark colored corridors of a sizable brothel house in Kamathipura, Mumbai’s infamous red-light district, writes Photo-journalist Hazel Thompson.

I’d started told to disguise my personal digital camera under my scarf, never to speak rather than in order to make visual communication with people. Using my give I believed the filthy walls dripping with condensation through the extreme temperatures.

Sooner, led by my personal Indian colleague, I found a candlight doorway at the end of a passageway. Like a jail safeguard, an ageing madam came to leading associated with brothel and unlocked the best padlock with her collection of techniques.

I became taken to the reception part of the brothel, the space where the customers are taken up pick a female. Regarding the threshold I could see a tiny, available trap door. The madam gone away, and I also climbed up a wooden ladder and pushed through smaller space.


Suddenly I found myself face-to-face with a “box cage”. I realized what I ended up being evaluating.

The prostitutes I had satisfied over many years of investigating the gender market in Mumbai have told me of the caged spaces and cardboard boxes they had come used set for months, actually age. They explained these were used within the cages when they happened to be initially trafficked towards red-light district.

The madams would maintain babes like slaves for the cages until these people were “broken” – the goal becoming to avoid them running out. The girls explained they never understood if it ended up being evening or time once they comprise for the cages. They were merely applied for to consume or perhaps to be provided with to a person for intercourse. For a long time I’d wanted to picture these cages, to prove that these places really exist.

I became time for Kamathipura 11 ages after my very first check out – evidently as a help individual together with the charity Jubilee venture. The truth is I was by using the accessibility i got eventually to render a photographic and movie record of some sort of that shouldn’t be permitted to occur.

I did so plenty of concealing in the back of brothels as well as on the roofs of red light houses, wanting to chronicle the everyday lives of women trafficked and tricked into gender bondage.


Before 2002, when I 1st concerned Asia to photograph kiddies produced into this vile industry, we know little about trafficking. Those beginning of seeing Kamathipura changed living, and I’ve started struggling to allow this tale get.

I was struggling to let go for the reason that women particularly Guddi, the prostitute in this movies. I initial fulfilled Guddi (pictured above) while I found myself capturing on 14th way, in the heart of Kamathipura. I happened to be sheltering through the extreme summer temperatures in a clinic manage by a charity, whenever Guddi came rushing through home. She is distraught and crying after being defeated by among the gangsters exactly who work the region.

Guddi was actually merely 11 years of age whenever she had been trafficked from country side. She ended up being tempted straight from the safeguards of the woman mothers and 13 additional siblings, from the girl room in an unhealthy village near Kolkata.

Their trafficker was actually her mother’s buddy, she claims, who’d lived nearby to the woman house all the girl lifetime. She promised Guddi well-paid domestic operate in Mumbai that will let give the lady struggling parents.


Guddi’s lifestyle drastically altered whenever she found its way to Mumbai. She had been taken to Kamathipura, where she was actually pulled into a brothel on 14th Lane and raped by a paedophile customer, as the madam along with her child presented the girl straight down by the woman legs and arms to restrain her.

The consumer raped this lady therefore violently that she was hospitalised for three period.

They raped this lady to split her, she claims. She ended up being held, being unsure of when it had been time or night, in a caged room in a brothel quarters on 14th Lane – the lady tale sadly echoed by many for the ladies I fulfilled and interviewed during the last 11 many years.

Over those many years, You will find viewed and snap a great deal of guys checking out Kamathipura – people say they have been trying to find delight. But a red-light region isn’t a location of pleasure. It’s a location of aches.

You will find frequently pondered if boys would are available and now have gender with your women as long as they know their unique real stories, like Guddi’s, when they understood the women have-been trafficked, hence in fact they are having to pay to rape a female who’s an intercourse servant.

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