What is meant by a RED LIGHT AREA?
Red Light Area is a term that is used to denote the presence of the area which hosts prostitution places like brothels , strip clubs etc.in a district. The term “red light area” comes from the use of red lanterns in the olden times which were used to indicate the presence of a brothel house in a city. Gradually, the red lanterns were replaced by red lights which were used for identification of such houses. Also, there is another explanation to it which states that when the sailors in Europe would return by sea to the coasts of Amsterdam , the women who worked as prostitutes would be frail, weak as a result of living in poor hygenic places which would make their skin and hair camouflaged carrying red lanterns which would differentiate them from the other women.
The history of Prostitution in India
During the Mughal era, the tradition of “tawaifs” came into being, where there were separate women courtesans to entertain the upper nobility with their singing, dancing and Urdu reciting skills. With the end of Mughal Era and the coming of Britishers it turned into the business of prostitution where a woman was suppose to offer her body for pleasing the nobles and the powerful instead of her talents. When Goa was a Portuguese colony during the 16th and 17th century, they used to trade Japanese women and girls as slaves to pleasure their sailors from Portuguese. With the coming of Britishers, it turned more vast. Britishers established various colonies which used to house brothels housing prostitutes which were bought from rural India at a “price” thus commoditization of women to make them prostitutes started.
Every British camp had 12 to 15 Indian prostitutes for pleasuring British soldiers. When the historian says that the Britishers have exploitd us in more than one way it is utterly true. Kamathipura, Mumbai’s largest red light district was the first establishment by the Britishers in India in 1795. The sex trade today has gone all berserk with children being trapped and made to be prostitutes. The red light area is a different sort of world for these girls majority of them belonging to poor families from far way state, being pushed into sex trafficking on the pretext of getting jobs by the pimps from a very young age.
List of largest red light areas in India
- Sonagachi, Kolkata- It is Asia’s largest red light area housing over 10,000 females with multiple brothels situated in its winding narrow lanes.
- Kamathipura, Mumbai. – Darkness is the first word which comes to mind on hearing this name. The voices of innocent young girls who had just gained their womanhood being pushed into this gory trade where they have no idea what is happening with them except the feeling of pain and utter disgust. The area had around 45,000 women in 1992 which was reduced to 500 in 2016 as per the official numbers.
- Budhwar Peth, Pune
- Meergunj, Allahabad
- G.B. Road, Delhi
- Chaturbhujsthan, Muzaffarpur
- Itwari, Nagpur
- Shivdaspur, Varanasi
***The stories of horrors inside of these red light areas can not be summarised in one blog. There will be second blog containing the darkness hidden in the RED LIGHT areas . It is so ironical that despite the name of these areas containing the word “light”, there is just darkness in there.
Apart from the labelled Red light areas where majority of the women are traded by others there are more such areas in India where the entire village is involved in sex trade and prostitution is the main source of income there where a woman earns by selling her body to feed herself and the males of the family.
- Natpura Village , Uttar Pradesh – Located in the eatsern UP’s Hardoi district, in a population of 5000 more than 70% of the women are involved in sex trade. The children here live only with their mothers, have no surnames and no clues of their fathers. This bizzare tradition is followed here since 4000 years now.
- Bachara tribe, Madhya Pradesh – Bachara is a tribal matriarchal community in the western part of Madhya Pradesh and women here are said to be the descendants of royal courtesans. Here, girls are forced into prostitution by their own fathers and brothers. The responsibility of making both ends meet is in the hands of the eldest daughter of the family. Most of such families have a dedicated room in their houses to continue this dreaded profession.
- Wadia Village, Gujarat– Known as the village of “sex workers” , males of the family search for potential customers for the females with the price ranging from 5000 to 10, 0000. The village is occupied by the “Saraniya tribe” which follows this custom since past 80 years. No matter how many educational drives regarding the wrongs of continuing this are done in the village there is no stop to it.
Is Prostitution legal in India?
Though Prostitution is legal, pimping, child trafficking and owning brothels is not. The power of money however succeeds in silencing the hands of the officials incharge to ensure that a woman gives her body by her choice not by force .