Exploitation continues in Sonagachhi even amidst the Pandemic

Sonagachhi, the largest red-light area of Asia, has women being exploited for ages since times immemorial. When the entire world is reeling in a pandemic situation, fighting the Covid-19 virus, a shadow has engulfed the sex workers of Sonagachhi in Kolkata. In addition to the exploration meted out to them for ages now, another major problem knocking at their doors is the unemployment related to the social distancing norms that are being observed worldwide. As an immediate effect, they are devoid of work and are unable to afford a square meal per day.

With respect to the current scenario and statistics, almost 89% of the basic workers in Sonagachhi are in debt to the brim, which needs immediate attention and rescue. Due to the current situation, they had to borrow a large amount of money and are unable to pay back. Therefore, they are in huge debt and are unable to bear the brunt of it.

This survey has been conducted by the Anti Human Trafficking Organization when the entire risk involves their non-payment of debts and being trafficked as a result. In addition to this, they are constantly being threatened and extorted by the pimps and brothel owners and are forced to render free services to the clients in order to complete the payment of their debts.

Furthermore, the survey has also surfaced the alarming fact that in spite of the existence of a number of NGOs and rescue centers, only about 75 women have been rescued from the pit of distress. When the survey has interviewed these rescued women, they themselves remarked the rescue team and their operations need a refreshment of their schemes in order to bring more rescued women to the limelight.

In the end, we perceive how the laws are made in the Indian Constitution, but their application in every sphere is truly non-uniform. In certain cases, the women are brainwashed into believing that they are caged birds, who should not open their mouth either to speak or revolt for their depressed status. Their minds are programmed in a certain way since the onset of their puberty. Hence, some women envelop themselves and are truly afraid to speak out even when there are laws to protect them. Another loophole in the Constitution of India is that the laws should be enforced more coercively among all sections of society, focusing on the total promotion of women's rights. With this hope blooming within us, gender oppression can vanish one day for the greater good of mankind— to help women breathe a sigh of relief.

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