The rooms have a double bed, an iron cupboard, a few utensils tucked away in a corner and a tiny refrigerator placed on a high wooden stool. Curtains hang at windows, pictures of Bollywood actors on the walls and young women roam around in towels and nightgowns, chatting volubly in Bengali. Bollywood hits rend the air—now loud, now muted, as doors open and close. This is a typical brothel in Sonagachi, the largest red light district in India, home to around 7, sex workers living and working in multi-storied buildings along the congested, decrepit bylanes of north Kolkata. These are some of their stories. Shantiranjan Saha, 42, is completely at ease in the expansive mansion.
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Jump to navigation. Meanwhile, the police do little. Will Brown reports. A picture of the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore looks down on a small bare room. Outside, the morning air heaves with pollution and the sound of chattering men.
Trapped inside Sonagachi
Sonagachi is Asia's largest red-light district. As per historian , during the early days of the city, the area was the den of a notorious Muslim dacoit by the name of Sanaullah, who lived here with his mother. The mother built a mosque in memory of her son, although it fell into disrepair.
Many of the 7, sex workers in this Kolkata red-light district say they have no other options for survival. They stare as year-old Geetha Das, sporting kohl-lined eyes, strides by purposefully - but she barely glances at these pimps and middlemen. Das has been a resident of Sonagachi, which is home to about 7, sex workers, since She was 16 years old at the time. Born in India's eastern state of Bengal, in an impoverished area known as North 24 Parganas, Das was married off at age 12 to a year-old man. His abusive and violent behaviour caused Das to return to her parents' home, along with her two children. Poverty and hunger forced Das to head to the bustling metropolis of Kolkata in search of a job. A friend brought her to Sonagachi - a move that, she said, secured her children's future. Society should first look at itself before condemning us… Did anyone give us a good job?