She had been forced into flesh trade at a tender age of 13 by none other than her own mother.
Today, 20-year-old Roshani (name changed) mirrors the kind of life she had led- lean, pale and weak, in the ruthless ‘Julaha Gali’ of Meerganj, the red light area in the Sangam city.
She was ‘rescued’ by police along with two other sex workers on a complaint by a Mumbai-based NGO recently. Though reluctant to talk about her life, she now exudes some hope, at least for her oneyear-old son, who she thinks can now have some future away from the big bad world of hers.
Sitting in Colvin Hospital under police watch and awaiting her turn for the mandatory medical examination, she is conscious of the probing eyes of patients and attendants silently questioning the presence of the cop escorting her.
In hushed tone she says, “It was not by choice but by force. Before I could understand anything, I found myself in the trade with none other than my mother encouraging me. Today I feel if I had worked as a labourer, I would surely have enjoyed some dignity and earned more than what I manage to save now."
"Contrary to popular beliefs, average daily earning sums up to around R200 to R300, nearly half of which goes to pimps and cops lurking in the area. As a customer leaves my room, one of the either is at my doorsteps seeking their share.” Roshani said.
Roshni’s mother, also a prostitute, died of AIDS while her late father, a drunkard, gave her as well as her mother nightmares, memories of which still make her shudder.
“As a child, I used to be locked up by my mother in a dark room whenever a customer came to meet her. I grew up seeing police raids, hearing abuses and women selling themselves. This is the only world I have ever known but I know a better world does exist outside and it is here that would like my son to grow,” she shared.
“If I get a chance, I will bring up my son as other kids grow, sending him to school, making him play in parks and getting into a respectable professional, even if he earns less.” she said.
Roshni, however, is still apprehensive if life would offer all that post her ‘rescue’.