T for Trade

Mumbai's Falkland Road : Picture Credits

Mumbai’s Falkland Road : Picture Credits

When I was growing up, there was a locality in my city where women would dress up and sit outside their houses and look towards the road chewing betel leaves or chatting with other women. While our rickshaw used to pass that area, I would always wonder why only women are seen in that area and why don’t they sit inside? Now, I know if they had been inside their houses they would not have been able to feed themselves or their children.

While prostitution is not illegal in India and some specific related acts are illegal, almost every city has an area popularly known as the red light area. People crack jokes and make fun but no one knows what would have a woman gone through to get to a stage in life where she has to now earn her bread in exchange of sex. While some were abducted at an age as young as 9 and forced into sex trade, some are willingly into it to make money. Imagine the horror of a young girl who was kidnapped or the ambitious girl who wanted to find a job to do better in life or the one who trusted her boyfriend’s marriage proposal.

Not just that, there have been many who have been sold by father or family member for little money and then they kept on getting sold for more and more money as they gained experience and then there was no way out. It was a quicksand and they were stuck. Unsafe sex makes them vulnerable to STDs, HIV and various other medical issues not to forget pregnancy and then the responsibility of bringing up a child who would be pushed in the same quicksand. Would the society even accept a child in school knowing her mother is a sex worker? There is poverty to blame and then there is the exploding population all over the country and the combination of the two is selling a girl child cos she would fetch more money.

The sex trade and trafficking is an industry of those unscrupulous people who lure young women and then make profits out of their misery. While there are organizations that help expose such rackets and help, many remain trapped all through their lives for no fault of theirs. They fell prey to a situation and then one day there was no other choice than to remain where they were. Even the ones who escape and want to come back home face ostracism and their own family refuses to accept them back. When such a situation comes, the pimps and the aunties of that world are ready with open arms to have them back in business.

Sex trade is not an India issue, it’s a world-wide issue. While women are pulled in to this for life, the arrests made are fewer and once set free, these people begin the same game with some other name and some other story. While rehabilitation tries to help, their effectiveness is the bigger question. Sometimes I wonder if it would be possible to control human trafficking by legalizing sex trade. I wonder would rapes in the country come down if men could pay and seek pleasure? May be or may be not.

I feel sad for those were forced into this and who could have done so much more with their lives if they were not tricked into the red light area by someone known.


I am blogging from A to Z during April (#413 on the list) and the theme I have chosen is set on women. Some of the posts will be here for you to know and some will be to reflect and accept. Share your thoughts and let me know how things are going. There is always a room for improvement.

47 Responses

  1. aseemrastogi2 says:

    The worst thing in some of these cases is that those unscrupulous people are actually women. I really wonder how can a woman herself let another woman undergo such torture :O.

  2. Vinitha says:

    How sad and disturbing is this! Those women have no choice at all. Even when they try to get out of that life, someone else will be there ready to push them back in. Think about their children. The women who do sex trade are just like us who wants the best for their children but what will happen to them! As you said will they even get proper education? Will any school accept them knowing their mother’s occupation?

  3. vineeta says:

    I feel bad for these women and think why don’t they take up any other profession ? But its not so simple . They are helpless and forced to do . Bold post

  4. Parul, I love it that you’re chosen theme for A-Z is something that everyone can relate to and perhaps one that a lot of people have written on in general. But your perspective is what makes it unique and different. And often refreshing to read.
    Coming to the post, a very bold decision to talk about trafficking. The truth is that there are plenty of us who refuse to think about such people. But we must. They’re not doing it out of choice, but are rather forced by people or circumstances. Keep writing.

  5. Totally disheartening and sad to see the plight of these women and also to know how they have been forced or drawn into it. You have highlighted all the issues revolving it in a complete way. Excellent post. 🙂

  6. I am so glad you are writing on such an important issue. Sex trade and trafficking has become a worldwide phenomenon Parul, even occurring in North America (Canada and the United States)! For young children and others forced into this, it is such a cruel and inhumane act. For those who choose, well that is a different story, yet why do they? Because they are struggling to put food on the table for their family? A vicious circle indeed!

  7. I’m so glad you wrote about trade about women who are derived basic human rights and live in inhuman condition. The worse is we keep criticising and loath wo knowing the facts. I am in favor of legalizing sex trade.

  8. Shilpa Garg says:

    Feel terribly sad for the women who are forced into this flesh trade. They truly lead miserable lives with scars that hurt them not only physically but mentally and emotionally too! 😐

  9. nishasanjeev says:

    Im loving the way you pick up women’s issues Parul.. good job!

  10. Alex Hurst says:

    Another difficult issue. This, I think, definitely comes down to the people who pay for these services needing to have a new mindset. The industry will never, ever change until the demand for it dwindles. But sex is always in demand. If there are more regulations, the black market avenues will just get worse. It’s a very scary, slippery slope.

    • Yeah – you are right! Black Market and the demand..There was a campaign that said “Real men dont pay for sex” and that was to stop sex trafficking but I’m not sure of it’s impact..

      • Alex Hurst says:

        That’s probably not good enough. A campaign has to make it too unattractive to continue. Like anti-smoking campaigns that show people missing pieces of their face, or using voice boxes.

  11. Every woman who give their body for money have a heart wrenching story to share. If only, everyone could hear them out….

  12. Eli says:

    For me its always wrong to buy another human being. Trafficking has become more brutal and organised. in Norway it is illegal to but sex, and that had actually helped.i believe the responibility should not be on the girls who very often are forced into this but on the buyers who keep the business going. Your are writing on an important issue many choose to ignore. Superb Parul:-)

    • Eli, in India because of the demand, if it was made illegal, would it not have adverse effects? The demand would not die so more young girls would have been pulled into business and people would just keep on doing without bringing it to light. I doubt the law here! Thanks for your encouragement Eli. I am glad you find it relevant.

  13. G Angela says:

    This is really very sad, and lot of people are very judgemental about those who trapped in this trade; I remember attending a capacity building training on HIV& AIDS… there was an exercise for us to imagine one day in the life of a sex worker… and then the resource person was sharing; how much these women struggle and the chances of getting infected with STI & HIV is so high…. many a time there is a tendency to look down upon these women and its common to hear that “why don’t they find any other work to feed their children and manage their homes.. some cases even while working as domestic help, these women are not spared….easy to point fingers… but very difficult to do something for them… there are NGOs working, but not enough… some women leave kids in a hostel; so that the children don’t get introduced to this way of life which is risky and threatening

    • Thank you for sharing your experience about the training. I feel sad to read this and I feel there should be many more organizations rehabilitating those who want to step out.

  14. Priyanka says:

    When I was young and learnt about this first time, I was shocked to learn the misery and to the extent a human being can go for food. Well, initially its the food or someone’s trick that gets these girls into the business, but if they want to move on to a career or education – the society wouldn’t allow them to do. So its a trap, a blackhole. These girls do not have any identity, no voter card, no bank account, no passport. No one cares if they live or die – in short, they are not treated as humans. Another question that bugs me is – there is enormous amount of filth and dirt in the areas in which they live, not to spoken of their poor hygiene. I have not understood what would attract the men to such shady places. As you pointed out, yes, if the business was made legal, atleast they would have a decent place to stay and take care of themselves. And only if the society didn’t judge these women… But too much to ask for I guess!

  15. vinodinii says:

    We can just ponder over what these women go through. But what exactly happens to them, I’m sure none of us can even begin to imagine about that kind of mental and physical trauma. All we can do is hope for things to change. Thought provoking post indeed.

  16. menons129 says:

    A very thought provoking post.. The miserable conditions in which these women exist is very painful.

  17. Mersha says:

    Great post. It is very courageous of you to write on trafficking.

  18. shanayatales says:

    I feel sad for these people too. Especially the ones who were tricked into it by their loved ones. I have wondered about the thing you mentioned too -would legalizing sex trade reduce rapes? It might, to some extent. I just don’t feel it would make a significant difference. Stronger laws against rape/rapist will be more effective. Great post, as usual. 🙂
    *Shantala @ ShanayaTales*

  19. That’s so sad, really. I am now working on translating the website of a foundation that has a big role in stopping child trafficking, exploitation and abuse. If some of these girls you are describing are under age, maybe there is something that can be done. Here is the link:
    https://www.endangeredchild.foundation/contact-us/

  20. World’s oldest profession. Yes people do crack jokes and make fun , but do these women have a choice? Bold of you to raise this issue.

  1. April 30, 2015

    […] everyone is lucky and many women are pushed to sex trade or shamed cos they were raped, but education enlightens everyone. Don’t just read but imbibe […]

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