Kamathipura is known as Mumbai’s oldest and Asia’s second large red-light district. Today, it seems like a mere shadow of itself. Skyscrapers are built as there’s no tomorrow – it’s no secret that with real estate people can make a pile of money. Around the remaining brothels, there are snack bars, and mobile phone shops. In a scent of both urine and spices, pirated DVD’s of the newest Bollywood movies are sold everywhere, street vendors try to sell shoes, sarees, fruits and coffee and crows fight with goats for food in the dirt. The most erotic here are sliced melons beside withered bananas.
One who knows very well about the situation there is 22 year old prostitute Pinky. Her father left the family when she was just a small child. She grew up with a brother, a sister and her mother in very poor conditions in Jharkhand.
At only 12 years of age, her uncle sold her the first time to a brothel. A lot of money was paid to her “madame”, that customers could go to the room with her. Two years later, Pinky was found by a police raid and brought to a shelter. Her uncle was found guilty and convicted to 7 years in prison, which he has nearly served by now.
But Pinky’s luck however was short-lived. She ended up in Kamathipura again when she was 18 and is still staying there.
Some people describe Kamathipura as an open prison and once you are “trapped” in there, it seems almost impossible to be able to live a normal live in the future.