Windsor Johnston. Rashida Bibi came to Kolkata as a teenager with the promise of a job as a nanny — but then was told she had to become a sex worker. That's been her profession for some 30 years. When Rashida Bibi was 16, she left her native Bangladesh and came to Kolkata, India, with the promise of a job as a nanny. Tears well up in her eyes when she remembers that moment. Some 30 years later, Bibi is one of an estimated 11, sex workers in Sonagachi, a notorious red-light district in Kolkata. And she is the mother of year-old Madhabi, who attends secondary school and dreams of being a hip-hop dancer in Bollywood.
Kolkata Woman Helps Children Of Sex Workers Break The Cycle
The pictures of women applying their make-up, waiting in their rooms and playing with their children offer a rare glimpse into the lives of the sex workers who ply their trade in Asia's largest red light district. They are the residents of Sonagachi, in the western city of Kolkata, an area swamped with hundreds of multi-storey brothels, housing roughly 14, prostitutes from all over India. It is thought as many as 1, women arrive every year to work in the brothels, and each of them have their own tale of how they came to live in the sprawling red light district. Scroll down for video. Sex workers: 'Rani' applies lip gloss at her room before attending a customer at the Sonagachi brothel where she works. Thousands: 'Dipali' poses for a photograph at her room.
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By Tom Gillespie TomGillespie1. The seedy world of Sonagachi in Kolkata, India, is swamped with hundreds of multi-storey brothels, housing roughly 14, prostitutes from all over India. Many of the sex workers have been trafficked into the profession, and are forced to sleep through the day and work tirelessly through the night. Other women have made a conscious decision to join the trade with the promise of higher earnings than their previous position. At weekends the red light district buzzes with customers of all ages from a range of different professions. Each sex worker has their own story, with some claiming to have found a better life since arriving in Sonagachi. Although the sex workers earn good money, local businessmen take advantage by upping what would be the normal price of commodities. Maya Banerjee, 72, spent years working as a prostitute but says she is now too old for the sex trade. Despite no longer being able to work, Maya chooses to remain in the red light district where she has spent most of her life. She said: "A simple fish that costs rupees per kilogram everywhere else is sold at rupees per kilogram here.