The coronavirus outbreak has made life difficult for those who live and earn every day. The sex workers are not spared either who have lost business and living in utter poverty.
West Bengal has several thousands of women who work as sex workers in Kolkata and also in districts. It also serves as the transit hub for sex workers who take the route from Bangladesh to move to other parts of the country.
Around 65000 sex workers facing the brunt of lockdown
Around 65000 sex workers live in Bengal of which 20,000 are in Sonagachi alone that is considered as one of the largest brothels of Asia. Apart, several of them come to the city for work and return to their homes.
But the lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic has broken their back. They have lost their business and now forced to live in poverty. Streets of Sonagachi that once hustled and bustled with customers now remain vacant.
Sex workers say that the business had been bad for the past few months since the news of the virus began to spread and the lockdown hastened the downfall, “The business has been bad for quite some time since the virus began to spread in other parts of the country. People became cautious and began to stay away. We still managed to earn our livelihood but the lockdown snatched our livelihood,” said Ritu Das( name changed) a sex worker in the red light area of Sonagachi.
Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee comes forward for help
Activists of Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee(DMSC), a non-profit working for sex workers estimate around 70 percent of them have been badly hit due to the lockdown, “We strongly feel that around 45,000 sex workers in Bengal are suffering from starvation because of the lockdown. We have been trying to offer them help but our resources are limited. Some politicians came forward for help but it was more of a photo opportunity than any genuine desire for help,” said Mahasweta mukherjee advocacy officer of the non-profit.
Durbar has been distributing cooked meals among the sex workers and their families in Sonagachi and has also been asking donations from people.
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Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee(DMSC)
Contact: 033-2530 3148
Keywords: Coronavirus, Durbar, sonagachi, Kolkata, lockdown
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