WEIGHT: 53 kg
Services: Sub Games, Toys, Toys, Fetish, Face Sitting
Having been trafficked at the age of 16, Lalka suffered years of violent customers and then an abusive marriage with a local gang enforcer who works in her brothel. They are still together now, though she is desperately looking for a safe way out of the relationship. Over the past 30 years the district has grown in the shadows, being left to fester. State and private initiatives have failed to tackle groups of petty criminals who now control territorial authority and resources.
And a growing cultural stigmatization of those involved has bred disinterest and fostered exploitation. Today, younger and younger victims of trafficking come from further afar. Sonagachi itself thrives off a self-perpetuating, city-wide mentality of hypocrisy, crime and ignorance. It is a word not used in public; a pit that many profit from, yet one that most, including the local media, seem to turn a blind eye to.
Radhika, 17, and her friends look out from a caged window of a brothel in Sonagachi while getting ready for the evening rush. While many in the area have 'earned' the independence to work on personal basis, all newly trafficked women and youngsters are kept on firm lock and key, forced to stay within the prison-like, dire conditions of brothel walls. I spent time with prostituted women as young as 14 who had been kidnapped on their way to school from border states. Their resilience, grace and collective enterprise astounded me; and at night, within dark, caged brothel cells, I heard their cries for hours.
Radhika, 17, in the room of a veteran sex worker, Asma, in Sonagachi seen dressing in background. The two have grown close over Radhika's period here; she respects and learns from Asma's experience and matter of fact, survival attitude, while Asma feels a fondness for Radhika's unfettered 'kindness and curiosity'. Strong bonds can often form within brothels as girls learn to support each other and find self-empowerment through group assertion and collective experience.