With the COVID-19 pandemic, mainstream prostitution came to a halt due to the fear of transmission of the virus. However, 7 months into the crisis, sex workers fear that they will be further pushed into a cycle of debt and poverty.
The findings reveal that over 60% of the sex workers in Hanuman Tekdi have taken loans from informal sources like friends in the neighbourhood, shopkeepers, local money lenders and their own brothel managers. Most of the survey respondents feel they will die of starvation and harassment and have reluctantly started work in the middle of the pandemic.
Bhiwandi is one of Asia’s largest warehouse hubs. Most of the major multinational companies and e-commerce giants have their warehouses set in Bhiwandi. As the town is growing, the red-light area of Hanuman Tekdi is mushrooming and women from other cities and countries are lured here for jobs and then forced into prostitution. (UNI)