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

Route 4 Information increases exclusive use of brothels in Mumbai, in which trafficked babes are keep in cages like slaves to get rid of all of them run away – and just let out to have sex with visitors.

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It was pitch-black as I stumbled through the labyrinth associated with the dark corridors of a sizable brothel residence in Kamathipura, Mumbai’s well known red-light area, produces Photo-journalist Hazel Thompson.

I’d come told to protect my camera under my personal garment, to not ever communicate rather than in order to make visual communication with people. With my hand I thought the dirty wall space dripping with condensation through the extreme temperatures.

At some point, directed by my personal Indian colleague, we stumbled on a candle lit door after a passageway. Like a jail shield, an ageing madam came to the leading associated with the brothel and unlocked the best padlock together set of secrets.

I became taken inside reception part of the brothel, the area where the customers are taken to select a lady. About ceiling I could discover a tiny, open trap-door. The madam vanished, and that I mounted upwards a wooden ladder and forced through the tiny difference.


Quickly I was face-to-face with a “box cage”. I know the thing I ended up being viewing.

The prostitutes I had fulfilled over numerous years of examining the sex market in Mumbai have told me associated with the caged areas and containers they’d become used set for several months, also decades. They said they were presented when you look at the cages once they are first trafficked toward red-light region.

The madams would keep carefully the ladies like slaves when you look at the cages until these people were “broken” – desire to are to stop them running out. The girls explained they never knew whether it was evening or time when they had been within the cages. These were only removed to consume or even be given to an individual for sex. For years I had desired to photograph these cages, to show these particular spots actually occur.

I became going back to Kamathipura 11 many years after my personal very first browse – basically as an aid employee with all the foundation Jubilee venture. In actuality I found myself using the access i got eventually to render a photographic pinalove price and movie record of a global that shouldn’t be permitted to exists.

Used to do lots of hiding at the back of brothels as well as on the roofs for the red light buildings, wanting to chronicle the everyday lives of ladies trafficked and tricked into gender slavery.


Before 2002, once I first came to India to picture young children produced into this vile markets, we knew nothing about trafficking. Those beginning of checking out Kamathipura altered my life, and I’ve become incapable of allow this facts get.

I found myself incapable of release due to women such as for example Guddi, the prostitute contained in this film. We initially fulfilled Guddi (pictured above) while I was capturing on 14th Lane, in the heart of Kamathipura. I became sheltering from the rigorous summer time temperatures in a clinic operated by a charity, whenever Guddi came rushing through door. She got distraught and weeping after being defeated by the gangsters exactly who run the region.

Guddi was actually just 11 years of age whenever she was trafficked from country. She was actually tempted directly from the cover of the lady parents and 13 more siblings, from the girl homes in a poor community near Kolkata.

The lady trafficker was actually their mother’s pal, she says, who’d existed next door to the woman home all their lifetime. She promised Guddi well-paid domestic work in Mumbai that could let give the lady battling household.


Guddi’s life drastically altered as soon as she arrived in Mumbai. She was taken up to Kamathipura, in which she had been pulled into a brothel on 14th Lane and raped by a paedophile buyer, while the madam and her girl used the lady all the way down by this lady legs and arms to restrict their.

The consumer raped the girl very violently that she was hospitalised for a few period.

They raped this lady to break her, she says. She was then used, unsure when it ended up being time or nights, in a caged space in a brothel home on 14th Lane – her story sadly echoed by many people in the girls we met and questioned within the last 11 years.

Over those years, I have observed and snap countless guys checking out Kamathipura – they claim they are searching for enjoyment. But a red-light section is certainly not a place of enjoyment. It’s somewhere of pain.

I have typically wondered if males would are available and possess gender with one of these people if they realized their particular genuine stories, like Guddi’s, should they knew the way the girls have already been trafficked, and that in fact they’ve been having to pay to rape a girl who is an intercourse servant.