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

Channel 4 Development gains unique entry to brothels in Mumbai, where trafficked ladies tend to be keep in cages like slaves to cease all of them working out – and simply let out over have intercourse with visitors tips.

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

I’d become told to cover my camera under my personal garment, never to talk and never which will make visual communication with any individual. With my hand we sensed the dirty wall space leaking with condensation from the extreme heating.

In the course of time, led by my Indian associate, I concerned a dimly lit home at the end of a passageway. Like a prison guard, an ageing madam stumbled on the leading from the brothel and unlocked the big padlock together with her collection of important factors.

I happened to be taken inside reception area of the brothel, the room where the clients are taken up choose a female. About ceiling i possibly could see a little, open trap-door. The madam gone away, and I climbed right up a wooden steps and pressed through lightweight difference.


Unexpectedly I found myself face to face with a “box cage”. We knew everything I was actually evaluating.

The prostitutes I experienced came across over years of investigating the sex field in Mumbai got explained with the caged rooms and box that they had come held in for months, also ages. They told me these people were conducted during the cages whenever they had been 1st trafficked for the red-light district.

The madams would keep your women like slaves in cages until these people were “broken” – the aim being to cease all of them operating away. Girls said they never ever understood when it had been night or day when they happened to be into the cages. These were only applied for to consume or even to be given to a customer for sex. For decades I got wanted to photograph these cages, to prove these places actually are present.

I happened to be time for Kamathipura 11 years after my personal earliest browse – evidently as an aid employee with the charity Jubilee venture. The truth is I happened to be with the access i got eventually to generate a photographic and video record of some sort of that shouldn’t be permitted to exist.

Used to do plenty of covering up at the back of brothels as well as on the roofs of red light buildings, trying to chronicle the schedules of ladies trafficked and tricked into gender slavery.


Before 2002, once I first involved India to photograph youngsters born into this vile industry, we realized nothing about trafficking. Those early days of seeing Kamathipura changed living, and I’ve started incapable of let this story run.

I found myself struggling to let go caused by women such as for example Guddi, the prostitute inside movies. We first fulfilled Guddi (envisioned above) while I became firing on 14th Lane, in the heart of Kamathipura. I happened to be sheltering from intensive summer temperature in a clinic run by a charity, when Guddi came rushing through door. She was actually distraught and weeping after becoming outdone by one of several gangsters who work the district.

Guddi was actually merely 11 yrs . old when she was actually trafficked through the country. She ended up being lured straight from the cover of their mothers and 13 more siblings, from this lady residence in an unhealthy community near Kolkata.

This lady trafficker was the lady mother’s buddy, she states, who had stayed next door to their family home all the girl existence. She guaranteed Guddi well-paid domestic are employed in Mumbai that would help feed the girl battling family.


Guddi’s life drastically changed whenever she arrived in Mumbai. She was taken fully to Kamathipura, in which she was actually pulled into a brothel on 14th way and raped by a paedophile buyer, whilst madam and her girl held their straight down by this lady arms and legs to restrict their.

The customer raped this lady very violently that she is hospitalised for a few period.

They raped the girl to-break this lady, she says. She was then conducted, being unsure of if this is time or night, in a caged room in a brothel residence on 14th way – the woman account unfortunately echoed by many people of this babes we met and questioned in the last 11 ages.

Over those many years, We have observed and photographed a huge number of guys going to Kamathipura – they claim these are typically looking for pleasures. But a red-light section is certainly not a spot of enjoyment. Truly somewhere of discomfort.

We have usually pondered if boys would are available and have now gender with one of these lady should they know her real reports, like Guddi’s, when they understood how women have now been trafficked, which really they are having to pay to rape a female who’s a gender servant.