I passed through those notorious lanes of Mumbai; pitched with darkness, silent after many screams and cries, like a labyrinth of the dark corridors of that large brothel house. I was told not to talk to anyone and not to make eye contacts. With my hands I felt those filthy walls dripping with condensation from the intense heat inside those barren blue canvas. Horror and Helplessness dripped down my nerves every time that I walked through ‘THE 11th LANE of KAMATHIPURA’ . Always asking myself “Who are these women?” “Where are they from?” “Why do they live here?”,like a flood drowning towns, my mind drowned with these questions which were never answered.
It was a brutal and hopeless world of Mumbai’s trafficked teenage sex slaves. While walking down the dark lanes, I happened to see a world that would scare me and make me shiver from head to toes , the Caged Rooms that these girls were kept in and held into for months or maybe even years when they were trafficked for the 1st time to the Red Light District. Kept like slaves , beaten till they kept mum ,broken enough to not even think of running away, that’s how they lived or maybe survived.
There I saw a girl, was she just sixteen with bruised legs and repeatedly struck, with those purplish mark that emerged clearly on the skin and tears in her eyes, she lived in a world that shouldn’t have been allowed to exist. She had a poise and innocent beauty that belonged more on Bollywood posters than in those dark lanes of Kamathipura. She wept constantly asking to take her back to her parents, she was trafficked secretly and was raped to a great degree by a pedophile customer till the time she had no strength to stand on her legs. I asked her to run away and she replied with a moist eyes “My life was taken when they brought me here” .That was a punch in my gut and slap on my face, nothing seemed more painful than that.
Returning to Kamathipura I always wondered if I would find her standing in those corners. I always hoped she has escaped and then I also dreaded that if she was not on her usual place the reason might be she did not survive.
In the darkest room
Colored all white,
Her clothes that ripped off,
And blasted open her tights
A 16yr old broken in pain,
And a male chauvinistic pig
beating her till she cried….
Never before had I seen a face so devoid of light
She screamed so loud
With no hopes in her mind
Was she left enough broken
Because she knew she was dead from inside….
While thinking over it, I questioned myself:
“What do these women get from it?” Money.
“What do these men get from it?” Sex.
These women are mother, daughter, sisters, wives, friends, neighbors. They have faces and eyes with a fragile heart and beautiful mind. Yes they can be vicious, they can lie, they can cheat, betray or be betrayed, beat and be beaten up…Their vulnerability takes many forms As does their [pullquote-left]Sex trafficking doesn’t just exists because its victims are vulnerable –it exists because there is a demand for commercial sex that traffickers can exploit and profit from.[/pullquote-left] Humanity.These women are seller of sex. Nothing was wrong till two consenting adults exchange service for money or pleasure. More than finding solution to stop trafficking of the innocents, People and Government are busy lecturing the moral and ethical reasons attached to it. I guess the duty of ‘so called Government’ is to protect ‘Rights’ than morals. Then I wondered, Can we for once stop parenting adults?. So is a 20yr old marrying a 65yr old less different than prostitution? Or just because your partner approaches a sex worker makes it morally wrong? Seems legit now? Hey people wake up and understand that criminalizing prostitution is not the solution but helping girls who are into this without their consent is the solution. I always hear this hyped up statement “My body my choice” why doesn’t it apply to this subject? STOP TRAFFICKING NOT PROSTITUTION.
LOOK AT THEIR FACES…WHAT DO YOU SEE?