Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond

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(English) Welcome to Sonagachi – Calcutta’s largest brothel area is thriving

231 Responses to “(English) Welcome to Sonagachi – Calcutta’s largest brothel area is thriving”

  1. 1
    Malyaban:

    It is the best article so far on Sonagachi . Truly it is another Kolkata in Kolkata . It is really painful to know how they carry their daily lively hood in utter misery .

  2. 2
    das:

    Tom, after having read 201 comments from different people with different views… I have very little left to be said… but a lot on… how to fight back in present situation… every body feels they are doing a great job on this issue, in fact no one is doing any thing other than witnessing these ill fated sex slave’s trauma and sufferings. These people neither have the courage nor have the strength to do any thing in order to stop, protect, bring them to the main stream of society…. I work for street children… I have no NGO…. or receive any help from any such org. I work alone, with my limited strength… In the year 2012 I decided to work for the children from sonagachhi… and this was a dreadful experience….my biggest battle was against these so called NGO like DMSC, sanlaap etc. Every day I received at least 200 threat calls from different people. Police, political leaders, NGOs,social activist, house owners, mafias, Traffickers, pimps and who not. I wanted and spoke about the issue with a perspective… that…. If can refrain the next generation to come in to the trade…. we can eradicate the trade nothing less than 70% of it. Ha ha ha ….what I came to know that every one is involved in to this issue for their piece of meat, including those so called NGOs. Although I’m still working for those children, but every day I have to brush my shoulder with every one involved here to make a little space for those children of lesser God.

  3. 3
    Dipjit:

    Hi, I’m a photographer. Wanna do a small project there.How can I?

  4. 4
    Muthukumar:

    It is good awareness lesson for us. I amd a Govt. servant. I want to save girls and childrens from Sex Traffickers, i want all details of Sonagachi in calcutta,I am ready to work along with you.I want to make HEALTHY, WEALTHY and PROSPEROUS INDIA for US. pl. mail me all the details about Sonagachi. and i am ready to serve to you.

  5. 5
    Ritto:

    I find the the plight of the women in Sonagachi very sad and painful. Surely, there must be other organisations willing to help them?

    International lobbying would certainly make the Indian govt take notice. This needs to be helped along by the media.

  6. 6
    Neal:

    Greetings! You did a very nice piece of work, congratulations.But do you really think this will make any impact when half the top brass actually feeds off of these women? Ask any Indian man of above 40 about Sonagachi. They will say “these unfortunate women need help” or “Government should stop it.”.That’s fucking it. Until everyone of us get hellbent on giving these ladies a proper life nothing is going to happen.Still, keep up the good work.

  7. 7
    Ali:

    I have read your article. The issues which was highlighted is undeniable. Starting from Mr. Dr.Jana to the director who is also famous as Bacchu Da have globalised sonagachi with their own vested interests. DMSC is a synonyms of organise prostitution.
    Here, fashion show is mentioned in the article but i would like to tell that every quarter year, a refreshment picnic is organised especially in Digha at Hotel Larica where they organise “Mehfil” in which the director and his associates dance,drink and enjoy sex with their female teammates. These females exchange sex for jobs, promotion and even for salaries, which are kept due upto 3 months.

    I wonder how Mrs. Gates, found the gate of DMSC.
    Anyway if anyone for the purpose of and in the interest of the sex workers wants to get information, may contact me +919804340019
    thanks

  8. 8
    nekra:

    Free sex in sonagachhi like sex in animals much dangerous

  9. 9
    nekra:

    Sonagachi………worst

  10. 10
    sanjay:

    I have read this article and read many more.l cannot how people can treat them in such a way.many of the girls are below18 .why the media is not taking any action inspire all the information is available to them…..
    EVERYBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO LIVE HAPPY…….

  11. 11
    Riyas:

    Hi Tom,
    This is indeed a sad and scary article. I believe there are limitations ( a lot indeed) that limits rehabilitation of sex workers. But I guess, all their children have to rehabilitated to different places far from the slums, given better education and slowly make all sorts of prostitution illegal with far more strict rules than the vague one we have now. I believe in places like Sonagachi & Kamathipura.. prostitution in these areas, I believe are passed on to their children by their own mothers who know no other means of livelihood than selling themselves.
    I think the NGOs apart from providing promotion on STDs should also introduce the women there the outside world where people can live with dignity and hope which might kindle interest in women to rehabilitate and live a better life.
    I wish I could be of any help..

    Heal the World, Make it a better place..

  12. 12
    UDAY SHARMA:

    its so sad that women are living in such condition. every woman wants to have a family, a husband, children and a loving society. as i was reading the comments was shocked some people saying that its not wrong as men have instinct for sex. SHAME SHAME ON ALL SUCH MEN. ITS BECAUSE OF DIRTY MEN LIKE YOU THAT SONAGACHI AND SUCH OTHER PLACES BREATHE ON EARTH. WOMEN ARE FORCED BECAUSE OF LOW MEN LIKE YOU. NOT THESE POOR WOMEN BUT SUCH SHAMEFUL MEN NEED TO BE OSTRACIZED. SORRY I DONT EVEN WANT TO CALL SUCH PEOPLE AS MEN BECAUSE REAL MEN RESPECT WOMEN, NOT EVEN THEY CAN BE CALLED ANIMALS SINCE THEY TOO HAVE A COD OF CONDUCT. THESE PEOPLE ARE JUST BEASTS. GOD WILL PUNISH THEM ALL AND NO MERCY WOULD BE SHOWN. MAY ALL YOU SHAMELESS STINKING BEASTS ROT IN HELL!!

  13. 13
    WELL WISHER:

    LAST FORTNIGHT I WAS ROBBED BY EIGHT PROSTITUTES IN SONAGACHI AT NOON..ONE AUNTY TOOK ME TO A ROOM ASKING ME TO DONATE RS 10 AS CHARHAWA..THERE SEVEN MORE GIRLS CAME IN THE SMALL ROOM..BOLTED THE DOOR AND CHECKED ALL MY BELONGINGS..TOOK AWAY RS 50000 CASH FROM ME FORCIBLY..IS THIS IS WHAT SONAGACHI IS ALL ABOUT..I THOUGHT I MUST WARN ALL MEN WANTING TO VISIT THERE..PLEASE BE VERY CAREFUL AND DONT CARRY TOO MUCH STUFF OR CASH..

  14. 14
    tom:

    Hi Well Wisher, reckon you had it coming. 50000 Roupies seems an appropriate amount to take off you for wanting to visit Sonagachi. Presumably you weren’t there to eat a thali.

  15. 15
    Kate:

    I know this article is old but I just wanted to say what a good job you did of reporting. I have only recently heard of Sonagachi and and what goes on but from my research it looks as though we are not talking about an issue of prostitution, but the issue of trafficking, slavery and rape. Reading the stories of some of these young girls is heart breaking and some of the comments here make me feel sick to my stomach – especially the one you posted at the end of this article. It is shocking that there is still next to nothing being done to stop so many young girls being forced into these disgusting conditions and the horrible lifestyle. Just to be clear, i have nothing against sex work – I live in Australia where it is legal and sex workers actually have rights and make the informed decisions to enter the industry, but I am STRONGLY against what goes on in Sonagachi which as I stated earlier is not prostitution, but sex trafficing and rape. Any ‘customer’ of these victims should be disgusted with themselves.

  16. 16
    bhaskar:

    Tom,
    There is no way u can stop them.. Here in our country even the graduates find it hard to survived in this competetive world. Even the well educated ..n well protected family leaves under threat. We cant even come above our old reforms to marriage in same cast n religion. India is still a long way to go. Only thing we can do is to stop more Innocent grls from falling into such traps by promoting the alternate option to save themselves from such tragic situations. We cant promise anything good for those who r already into that profession bt atlst we can ensure no more will face it. And save those who r born in brothels.

  17. 17
    Gopal:

    Ladies and Gentlemen,
    My name is Gopal and I recently moved back to India after staying in US for a long time. I am starting an orphanage in Hyderabad area. I am thinking about hiring few of these unfortunate women as cooks and maids in the orphanage, yes they can bring their kids along with them. So if you know any of these unfortunate women, please connect them to me.
    My email address is satyamss2000@yahoo.com
    –Gopal

  18. 18
    MBlanc:

    @ Author:

    This was one of the very minority of articles which tries to show some REAL life, and definitely not what people would want to see. Sadly, in all these years nothing much has changed. Although new ways of corruption had opened up. My friend (former colleague, actually) was blocked from a well-deserved promotion because he wasn’t being able to supply good-quality escorts for the boss. Eventually a new lady got it. I wouldn’t want to imagine why. Sonagachi@work for ya.

    @ Readers:

    How, my dear glossy-eyed dreaming-of-heaven-on-earth brothers and sisters, how do you even consider ‘changing the situation’ when this world is endlessly generating opportunities to take advantage of other people? That’s the definition of humanity right there, because only humans do this to fellow humans. Is it really a surprise that NGOs would actually try to profit, nay, do profit from the very beings they ‘protect’?

    Face it. India is a overpopulated, undereducated huge market. And sex is the best (and cheapest) product up for sell. Who the fuck are you to spin the world the other way?

    For those who want to legalize prostitution – are you sure you’re just saying it purely out of your heart’s goodness or are you just trying to find a safer brothel? I wouldn’t trust a man about sex. Nature had not built humans that way.

    If there’s anything a government (with big balls) can do is to establish a nationalized chain of brothels cum safe-havens right next to redlight districts. A government who did that would forever etch their names in gold letters in history of mankind. Unfortunately, in the next few months all members of that government will be assassinated and the brothel-shop cum safe-havens burned. With girls inside. That’s humanity 101.

    What’s my point? If you can’t do anything, shut the fuck up.

  19. 19
    tom:

    Yes, nothing changes. I was just talking about the Snowden film Citizenfour, which won an Oscar recently. The film describes events that shook the world two years ago – mass surveillance by the state, syphoning up of personal information etc. The most remarkable thing about the Oscar win is thta nothing, but absolutely nothing has changed since then, none of the intrusive laws have been rolled back.

    We all have access to information these days. We can publicize any injustice or atrocity to a wide audience and the world (and politics) keeps turning as if we are living in total darkness, our heads stuck in gadgets with flushing lights all day long. I am guessing Sonagachi will still be around in 20 years time, pretty much unchanged from the way it is today.

  20. 20
    adg:

    Prostitution and more so abuse of women is now way unique to India but when we consider stats like gender empowerment ratio,honour killing of women more so for rape victims,incredible apathy of law and authority,innumerable gang rapes undoubtedly Indians have one of the worst if not worst perverted mindset.remember Duryodhan , he stripped his own sister in law in public and nobody protested and the crowd present were all noble elements of society.Can only happen in India

  21. 21
    Kanav:

    hey, I am from Delhi, as I was just surfing for Sonagachi as its a famous red light district, your article gave me an insight of the reality behind this area. I very much appreciate your stand in creating awareness for the inhumane acts being performed in such areas especally in India and we, the public of India need to enlighten ourselves on this emerging issue.
    Thanks for sharing this article, and do notify me if u post any such articles anywhere over the web

  22. 22
    BALAJI:

    My point of view, I won’t allow women from my family to do such things, no matter wat. Prostituition must be wholly eradicated in India. Sex workers will be employed by our govt, and they should be treated with all rights.
    If there’s anyone who really needs a red-light area, he & his family will be bought here to service those who feel the same as he does.

  23. 23
    BALAJI:

    I pledge everyday, not just me, but every Indian takes an oath that every woman on Indian land be my sister. We pledge that we’ll protect our country & its people from all evil, both foreign & domestic.
    We are forcing our women into prostitution or we create such situations that they have no other choice rather than being a sex worker

  24. 24
    Junaid:

    Prostitutes?
    Never call that name on them!
    There are the the part of this crazy fucking society who have suffered! Suffered a lot of pain that this freakin dumbass higher people can never think of!
    I m sure you guys can’t survive a day with that mental breakdown!
    This society, Its all about money! That shit makes people cautious!! And this money makes them live like this!
    They are theoretically living literally dead!
    God you dipped good people in sick society!
    #good article brother
    #salute

  25. 25
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  26. 26
    Zaki:

    This is rong plz dont go anyone for fucking

  27. 27
    Anuraag:

    the root cause is poverty. As the writer rightly said. To understand it better consider fiscal human pyramid.
    The people on the top of this pyramid have the best ways of making money. those who keep failing keep sliding down the pyramid and towards worst kind of professions.
    The reality is that everyone , as a mandatory dictat, has to operate something to make a living… else perish. this could be an option for women …just before the perish option.
    I have seen more of men in worse condition than women…

  28. 28
    Anonymous:

    Its a matter o great regrate that nobody never dreams to see India in this scinerio.God save India

  29. 29
    Tandish:

    Even Shri Rajiv Dixit Ji had tried to eradicate Prostitution,Unemployment,Corruption,etc from our Country India.But he was poisoned to death just because he wished to make our country once again more healthy,wealthy,prosperous,advanced in respect of Science & Technology etc as it was before foreign countries came to loot India.Please must listen to his Lecture given by him while he travelled all over India when he was alive.

  30. 30
    Dr Sudipta Mukherjee:

    Prostitution is a boon to India. Think daily how many people go to them, if they were satisfied with their wife, population explosions would be like a bombshell. In our economic condition that ought to be the only way to survive. I do agree with the deplorable conditions of the sex-workers!!! But in our sociology-economical condition is there any alternative? We need to improve our social condition, any other way to stop this will be a total failure, now a $ is = 70 Indian currency. What is the cause of this devaluation? Corruption! No political leader is looking at this! What is our social condition, we need to put that straight. Then try to eradicate prostitution.

  31. 31
    sri9:

    Female IAS officers are deprived of sex from husbands due to their administrative powers.ONe such example is prathibha patil devi singh…….Please take her into your houses.She is a good leader

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