Caged until ‘broken’: existence for Mumbai’s prostitutes

Station 4 reports benefits special accessibility brothels in Mumbai, where trafficked babes become keep in cages like slaves to eliminate all of them working aside – and only let out to have intercourse with consumers.

Weight most express possibilities

It absolutely was pitch black when I stumbled through the labyrinth of dark corridors of a large brothel residence in Kamathipura, Mumbai’s infamous red-light region, writes Photo-journalist Hazel Thompson.

I’d come told to hide my cam under my personal scarf, to not communicate rather than which will make eye contact with anybody. Using my give I believed the filthy walls leaking with condensation from the extreme heat.

Sooner or later, directed by my Indian colleague, I stumbled on a candlight door after a corridor. Like a jail safeguard, an ageing madam came to the leading on the brothel and unlocked the big padlock together with her pair of important factors.

I became used in to the reception section of the brothel, the room where in actuality the clients are taken to pick a woman. In the ceiling I could read a small, available trap door. The madam vanished, and I climbed right up a wooden ladder and pressed through the small space.


All of a sudden I found myself in person with a “box cage”. We know the thing I was examining.

The prostitutes I got fulfilled over numerous years of investigating the gender field in Mumbai have explained for the caged places and box that they had become conducted in for several months, even age. They told me these were presented within the cages when they were very first trafficked on the red-light region.

The madams would keep the ladies like slaves in cages until these people were “broken” – the goal being to end all of them working away. The girls told me they never ever realized when it was nights or day when they were inside the cages. These people were best removed for eating or perhaps to get to a consumer for intercourse. Consistently I experienced desired to photograph these cages, to show why these spots really can be found.

I happened to be going back to Kamathipura 11 age after my first check out – fundamentally as a help employee aided by the charity Jubilee Campaign. In fact I was utilizing the access I got to render a photographic and movie record of some sort of which shouldn’t be permitted to occur.

Used to do countless covering up at the back of brothels and on the roofs from the red-light houses, wanting to chronicle the life of ladies trafficked and tricked into sex bondage.


Before 2002, as I first found India to picture kids created into this vile business, we know absolutely nothing about trafficking. Those beginning of seeing Kamathipura changed living, and I’ve already been incapable of allow this facts go.

I happened to be unable to let go as a result of babes such as for instance Guddi, the prostitute in this movie. We initial satisfied Guddi (pictured above) while I found myself firing on 14th way, in the heart of Kamathipura. I was sheltering through the intense summertime heat in a clinic work by a charity, whenever Guddi came rushing through the door. She ended up being distraught and weeping after are outdone by the gangsters exactly who operated the district.

Guddi had been just 11 yrs . old when she got trafficked from the countryside. She was actually tempted directly from the shelter of the girl mothers and 13 more siblings, from the woman room in a poor town near Kolkata.

The girl trafficker was her mother’s buddy, she says, who had stayed next-door to the woman house all the woman lifetime. She guaranteed Guddi well-paid home-based work in Mumbai that will assist supply their fighting parents.


Guddi’s life drastically changed when she found its way to Mumbai. She is taken to Kamathipura, where she got pulled into a brothel on 14th Lane and raped by a paedophile customer, as the madam along with her child conducted her all the way down by the lady arms and legs to restrict the woman.

The client raped her therefore violently that she was actually hospitalised for a few several months.

They raped her to split the lady, she states. She was then presented, not knowing if this was actually time or evening, in a caged room in a brothel quarters on 14th way – her account sadly echoed by many associated with the babes I came across and interviewed during the last 11 many years.

Over those age, i’ve observed and photographed 1000s of guys seeing Kamathipura – they say these include looking pleasures. But a red-light section is certainly not somewhere of enjoyment. It really is a location of discomfort.

I’ve frequently pondered if males would come and get gender by using these ladies when they know their particular real stories, like Guddi’s, when they knew the way the women happen trafficked, and this really they’ve been spending to rape a girl who is a gender slave.