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As the need for social distancing threatens the livelihood of sex workers, some are using Whatsapp and Google Pay to work from home. Riya has two names.
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In addition to taking care of the temple and performing rituals, the women learnt classical dance, and enjoyed a very high status in society. They would go on to marry patrons, who were often kings, and wouldn't need to participate in the daily workings of the household.
In every single one of these areas, efforts have been made to try and rehabilitate the women by NGOS and the government alike. They got beaten up, arrested, locked up and brutalisation continued.
No woman will choose to prostitute herself unless she has no other option, and in certain scenarios is forced into it by her familyeven before she reaches puberty. In fact, the family has a dedicated room which is meant for this purpose, and this purpose only. An extremely poor village, most of the villagers here belong to the Nat community.
What difference does it make if you become one? This dried up their traditional source of livelihood, and women had no choice.
Prostitution is one of the oldest professions in the world, and as long as people are ready to pay for sex, it will exist. Prostitution is not technically illegal in India, and even in places that it is, it exists.
Girl prostitution in india
Girls are groomed for a life as a prostitute, and some start as young as 12, and boys are trained to be pimps. The tradition comes down from the days when the women from the tribe would grow up to become respected courtesans—respect that is not given to women in the sex trade any more. Don't be taken in by Guddi's story though—what happened to her was a very, very rare circumstance.
Even though the system has been outlawed sincethere are hundreds of women still forced to turn to this life in parts of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. India may be seeing achhe din or notbut for certain sections of the community, there are none. The Bachara tribe from west Madhya Pradesh is famous for treating prostitution as a tradition.
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Nothing has really changed for the women, and if there's something that we see common to all of these places, it is that the fates of all the women are in the hands of the men in their lives. Instead of serving God, they now have to cater to whoever places the highest bid on their virginity, and then go wherever they are sent to, to lead their lives as what can be basically termed prostitutes.
There's a hungry stomach to feed and there is reation.
They ended up in prostitution - what [else] will they do? I'd say a woman starts feeling bad since the beginning, but there's a weakness. Wadia village in north Gujarat is famous for its prostitution, with the birth of girls being celebrated, because it just means there's another breadwinner for the family.
While the women are simply looked at as a means of money, and barely treated as human, the chances of things changing for them looks grim. The only way out of this life is for the women to find a suitor who agrees to pay her parents the expensive dowry they demand for her. A year project following the life of Guddi, this documentary followed the life of one woman, who fought and managed to make it out of the system.
What is fascinating to find out, is that there are actual places in India where prostitution is not only the main or only source of income for the entire family, but that the profession is actually passed down through generations. The devadasi system has changed from being a religious custom to one of simple exploitation.
During the British rule, these kings soon lost their power, leaving the devadasis to their own devices, and soon they turned to a life of prostitution to support themselves. The eldest daughter of the family is brought up with the knowledge that she will grow up to this life, and once she gets older, the younger daughter takes over.
If you're wondering how the young girls get into this life, it is her father or brother who ends up acting as her pimp, taking care of all the arrangements. Nat Purwa, a small village in the Hardoi district in east Uttar Pradeshis another such place.