Kolkata : Several industries across the globe are bearing the brunt of losses due to the coronavirus outbreak. The red-light areas located in West Bengal have witnessed a sharp decline in customer traffic amid COVID infection scare, with several sex workers struggling to earn just enough money to live on. However, many of them have regarded their safety as a primary concern and have confined themselves indoors for the time being, even if that makes them bring down their expenses. Kajol Bose, the secretary of Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee - a sex workers' organisation, while speaking to the news agency PTI said that earlier, before the coronavirus outbreak, Sonagachi used to witness nearly 20, customers on daily basis but now on an average barely people visit the area amid the fears of COVID infection. Another member of the committee, identified as Baisakhi Lashkar, said that Sonagachi has nearly 12, women who work as sex workers, but currently, only 10 percent of them are working. A sex worker named Rita Roy shared her plight and said that she was struggling hard to make ends meet.
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New Delhi: Sex workers in Sonagachi, Asia's largest red light area reeling under huge debt trap, post lockdown, with round 89 percent of them under deep debt bondage, a survey has revealed. The survey conducted by an NGO - Anti Human Trafficking Organisation found that many Sonagachi sex workers had taken loan during the lockdown as they were out of business. The Anti Human Trafficking Organisation also found that 73 percent of these sex workers want to leave the trade and look for new avenues of income. However, they have taken loans from the informal sector especially from money lenders, brothel owners, pimps, thus entrapping themselves further into the vicious circle.
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Follow live updates on coronavirus. At least 10, sex workers of Sonagachi are unable to pay rent for their houses. Most of these workers are the only earning member in their families and are struggling to sustain them. Bose said that for now, they have been able to convince concerned landlords not to collect rent for a month. Recalling the financial struggle during demonstration, she said that it was nothing compared to the hardships they are currently facing following the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Red-light areas in West Bengal were witnessing a sharp decline in the number of customers, amid the novel coronavirus scare, with several sex workers finding it difficult to make ends meet. Many of these sex workers, however, feel safety was of primary concern and preferred to stay indoors for now, even if that would mean curtailing expenses. Adjacent to Sonagachi area, too, the scene was no different, with only a few women sauntering down the Abinash Kabiraj Street, Masjid Bari Lane and Rabindra Sarani as they wait for customers.