Kolkata’s women purgatory

Girls and young women, given away for almost nothing to prospective grooms or employers, then locked up in cages, beaten and raped multiple times a day for one euro each time. That is Kolkata’s women purgatory. And nobody cares.

Kolkata – Take in mind the following setting, or rather in your nightmares: narrow streets that meander between decomposed brothels, women in cages and all this against a background of colorful market stalls.

This is would be Sonagachi, a district in the north of Kolkata, formerly Calcutta. Kolkata’s purgatory for women and Asia’s largest red-light district. An area where journalists, politicians and outsiders are not safe. It’s a neighborhood of violence, organized crime, trafficking, corruption and lots of casualties.

Kolkata’s women purgatory

About 12,000 of them. All women, many under 18, who are raped daily for one euro. The English journalist Souvid Datta, who also made an impressive photo reportage about addicts in Kabul, spent nine days in the area portraying the victims.

Like the 25-year Lalka exploited since her 16th. For years, she has been assaulted daily by clients and a husband who is in control in the brothel.

Exploited and sold

According to the Data, women are each time younger and younger in the brothels. And there is absolutely no attention to the appalling conditions of the women.

After all, many reason, they are only prostitutes and women from the lowest castes anyway.


Some women are given to traffickers by their poor families. Sometimes, knowing what awaits them, but other times parents think their daughter marries off with a man and will live with the in-laws. Others are kidnapped on their  way to school.

New women are kept in cages in order to prevent them from running away. The journalist says that every night he listened to the women out there screaming and crying out in despair. Many people are not aware of the circumstances in Kolkata and Datta wants to eliminate the ignorance with his feature.

Give them their rights

He wants the women to have their rights and bodies back and is telling their stories hoping that politicians take their responsibility. In the Netherlands Free a Girl  is a NGO dedicated to free young girls from forced prostitution and to prosecuting the offenders.

With the money from donors, girls and young women are freed, they are taken to a safe home and, where possible, brought back home.

Source: Upworthy – Images: Allison Joyce

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