Prostitution is a sensitive topic. Indian sex workers are by and large in the business due to situations beyond their control. India also lays claim to having some of the world’s largest red light districts, quite a few of them in fact.
Here they are.
1. Sonagachi, Kolkata
With the regrettable title of Asia’s largest red light area, Sonagachi is a world in itself. It’s inhabited by more than 11,000 sex workers. Watch the Oscar winning documentary, Born into Brothels, to know about the lives of the children born to prostitutes here. Pretty hard hitting stuff.
2. Kamathipura, Mumbai
India’s second largest red light district houses a staggering number of sex workers, most of whom live in squalor. The area also has a small beedi roling industry that is run by women. In the ’80s, gangsters like Haji Mastan and Dawood Ibrahim frequently visited Kamathipuram.
3. Budhwar Peth, Pune
Apparently the third largest red in India with around 5000 commercial sex workers. The area is also a hub of electronic goods and books.
4. Meergunj, Allahabad
This red light district has a notorious reputation for illegal trafficking and forced prostitution. It’s also pretty dangerous for visitors, which is kind of obvious considering the place sounds shady as hell.
5. G.B. Road, Delhi
Another large red light area, this place is known for the hundreds of brothels along the streets. There are markets for machinery and vehicle parts on the ground floors and kothas or brothels above them. Strange.
6. Chaturbhujsthan, Muzaffarpur
This old temple area has existed side by side with brothels since ancient times. Seems strange, but when you think about the high social space concubines occupied in the old days, it all starts to make sense.
7. Itwari, Nagpur
The area in Itwari known as Ganga Jamuna is a hotspot of sex workers, along with other criminal activity.
8. Shivdaspur, Varanasi
This red light village is another leftover of the ancient times that lost it’s sheen a while back. It sits on the edge of Varanasi city and is known for the cheap brothels being run from homes in the village.