I had just spent the morning hanging out with children of prostitutes, about 20 odd of them, all were extremely energetic full of life, probably between the ages of 3 or 4 and 9, perhaps just a bit older.
If I showed a proper picture of them to the girls I know they’d probably all make some sort of maternal brooding noise and perhaps even some of the guys would too (paternal though, obviously). It’s hard not to smile when hanging around children who you know are up to no good and think they’re getting away with it and the cheeky expressions they put on whilst they’re A) figuring out what to do next in their heads and B) when they find out that someone’s looking at them and caught them.
In the afternoon, well, after it had gone 5pm, I was away from these kids and being taken covertly into the local red light area. Women of all shapes and sizes stood on the side of the streets dressed up with make up on to make them more appealing to ‘customers’.
Within a couple of minutes I and the man I was with, who was from the project I was visiting had been approached.
“want a nice girl? I have nice girl for you, very pretty, you like?”
The other guy was bypassed until I looked at him, he gave me a look as if to go with the flow, and I turned to the pimp and just said “he knows what I like. he knows what I like”. Words in hindi were exchanged which seemed to me to be setting the stall out, what type of girl i’d like and where abouts the pimp knew where I could find them.
For the purpose of keeping you in the loop, the guy I was with said that I was a designer, teaching graphic design in a college and wanted to have a thin girl.
Off we went, through some of the streets lined with women and towards what was a doorway sized entry point (with no door) to a narrow, dark and steep(ish) staircase, when at the bottom the Pimp pressed a buzzer several times until he was called up. There was probably little need for it but to alert anyone upstairs of our arrival.
Up he went, then I followed, followed again by the guy I knew. At the top of the stairs was a small(ish) room but, despite being in a seemingly impoverished area, it was done up very well. A clean and well kept sofa, a relatively large room, a fish tank lit up at the end of the room (facing you as you walked up the stairs) and a clean floor, inside of which was a couple of men, some my age (but a bit scrawnier).
Encouraged to take a seat on the sofa I was then offered something to drink, I wasn’t thirsty and so decided to go with what I felt natural with and declined. Any other reaction for the sake of it could’ve been just the warning sign they were looking for, right? I wasn’t to know and I wasn’t going to try and test how observant these guys were.
The guy I was with, who was rapidly becoming my interpreter, started talking to the biggest man (it’s a sign of wealth in India to have a big waistline) during which a bell rang. I could only assume this was, what it eventually proved to be, a call to the available girls to line up.
The door opened to the left of me, right by the side of the sofa and one by one 6/7 girls came out dressed for every taste but all of “Indian” complexion. I made eye contact with all of them but, knowing that there was a high probability that they were there because they were owned and not out of choice, I only kept their gaze for a brief moment.
Every time my thoughts ended up towards what brought them there I’d take another look, trying to keep an aggressively analytical facial expression on as to convey a serious and macho demeanor that would not only make (i hoped) the guys think of me as someone capable of looking after myself but also hide the actual thought pattern I was trying to mask. I also, whilst doing this felt that it made me look as if I was eyeing up the girls critically and in a contemplative manner, as If I was serious about ‘having one’ for the menial price of 100-200 Rupees per hopur (80 odd rupees to the pound).
Thankfully, and I say this not in a way which is meant to offend, but this time what I saw didn’t link into what I was “looking for” as stated by the guy I knew, as none of the girls were thin.
In short they didn’t look happy, they had a hopeless/resigned look in their eye, they were all overweight, and whilst some had traditional clothes on others were trying or had been bought clothes to appeal to the more western minded of those who came, wearing tight jeans and skinny tops with a vast cleavage.
The reality is that all these girls had been trafficked. All these women, who seemed to be in their early to mid twenties had probably been in this brothel or others like it for years, swapping brothels every time the owner was tipped off about the potential police raid coming.
The likelihood is that these women may have not only been from India but also Bangladesh and Nepal, where apparently the immigration rules are meant to be relaxed enough for people to be trafficked across borders easily. If you have read the previous post it’s easy to think there’s nothing wrong with what’s going on at the time because the people and children being trafficked probably aren’t aware of it at the time they get moved across the borders
It’s a collation of a lot of different aspects, but I cannot help but think even a basic education would’ve been a simple but fundamental difference to the way these girls lives have panned out. It’s absurd to think that these people, women and children, in 2013, still get subjected to such primitive and exploitative measures because of the route of poverty and trying to make a better life for themselves. Especially when you consider how cheaply their lives are sold for and how short a time money lasts in comparison to a life and the amount of profit that’s made around the world which could address the educational infrastructure with a bit more honest focus and passion put into it.