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

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

Channel 4 Information increases unique use of brothels in Mumbai, in which trafficked women tend to be kept in cages like slaves to quit all of them running out – and simply permitted over to have sexual intercourse with customers.

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It had been pitch-black when I stumbled through the labyrinth for the dark colored corridors of big brothel house in Kamathipura, Mumbai’s well known red-light area, writes Photo-journalist Hazel Thompson.

I’d come informed to protect my personal cam under my garment, to not ever speak rather than which will make visual communication with individuals. With my give I thought the filthy wall space leaking with condensation from the extreme heat.

Sooner, led by my personal Indian colleague, I concerned a candle lit home after a corridor. Like a jail protect, an ageing madam involved the leading for the brothel and unlocked the large padlock along with her group of secrets.

I found myself taken into the reception area of the brothel, the space where the customers are taken to choose a female. On threshold i possibly could discover a little, open trap door. The madam disappeared, and I also climbed up a wooden steps and pushed through the little gap.


Out of the blue I happened to be one on one with a “box cage”. I know the things I got evaluating.

The prostitutes I got satisfied over numerous years of examining the sex market in Mumbai have said of the caged rooms and bins they’d been conducted set for several months, also years. They informed me they certainly were conducted within the cages once they comprise initially trafficked for the red-light area.

The madams would maintain girls like slaves when you look at the cages until they were “broken” – the aim becoming to end all of them working out. Girls informed me they never understood whether or not it got nights or time whenever they happened to be into the cages. These were just applied for for eating or even to get to a client for gender. For years I got planned to photograph these cages, to show that these locations actually exists.

I became returning to Kamathipura 11 ages after my earliest consult – fundamentally as an aid employee with the charity Jubilee promotion. In fact I happened to be using the access i got eventually to create a photographic and movie record of a world that willn’t be permitted to exists.

I did so a lot of covering up at the back of brothels and on the roofs with the red light houses, attempting to chronicle the schedules of girls trafficked and tricked into sex bondage.


Before 2002, as I initial concerned Asia to picture little ones born into this vile field, we know absolutely nothing about trafficking. Those early days of going to Kamathipura altered my life, and I’ve come struggling to allow this facts get.

I became incapable of let go of for the reason that women particularly Guddi, the prostitute within this film. We initially fulfilled Guddi (pictured above) while I found myself shooting on 14th way, in the heart of Kamathipura. I found myself sheltering from extreme summer time temperatures in a clinic operate by a charity, when Guddi came rushing through the doorway. She had been distraught and whining after being outdone by among the many gangsters just who work the region.

Guddi had been simply 11 years old whenever she ended up being trafficked from the countryside. She is lured straight from the safety of their moms and dads and 13 additional siblings, from her home in an undesirable community near Kolkata.

The woman trafficker had been their mother’s pal, she states, who had resided next-door to the lady home all her lives. She promised Guddi well-paid residential work with Mumbai that would let feed her fighting group.


Guddi’s life significantly altered the moment she found its way to Mumbai. She had been taken to Kamathipura, in which she got pulled into a brothel on 14th way and raped by a paedophile customer, although the madam along with her child used the woman down by her arms and legs to restrain the girl.

The consumer raped this lady so violently that she ended up being hospitalised for a few months.

They raped the girl to split the lady, she says. She ended up being held, being unsure of in the event it was actually time or nights, in a caged space in a brothel household on 14th way – the woman story sadly echoed by many people of babes we came across and interviewed over the past 11 years.

Over those ages, i’ve observed and shoot a great deal of males checking out Kamathipura – they state these are typically seeking satisfaction. But a red-light district is certainly not a spot of delight. Its a place of problems.

You will find often pondered if guys would arrive and have now gender using these ladies as long as they know their particular genuine stories, like Guddi’s, should they know how the ladies currently trafficked, hence in fact they’ve been having to pay to rape a female that is a gender servant.

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