In May, 12 girls from Kamathipura — one of India’s largest red-light areas — will go to the United States to perform a play on the lives of sex workers.
The girls, all daughters of sex workers and members of a non-governmental organisation Kranti, which works for the upliftment of trafficked girls and childre of sex workers, said they are looking forward to this opportunity.
Titled Lal Batti Express, the hour-long play showcases the problems and challenges faced by sex workers in the area, and is based on the real life account of the participants who are between 14 and 19 years of age.
“The title speaks of the contrast between the stigmatised life in the red-light area and that of VIPs, as red-beacon vehicles symbolise the high life,” said Robin Chaurasia, co-founder and spokesperson of the NGO.
The girls will perform the play in five US cities — New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, Washington and San Francisco.
Chaurasia, a US national of Indian origin, said: “This opportunity has come about after some non-governmental agencies and educational institutes expressed interest in knowing about the lives of our girls.”
Notably, Shweta Katti, a member of Kranti, not only received a scholarship for admission to New York’s Bard College, but went on to win the UN Youth Courage Award in December, introducing Kamathipura to thousands of people abroad. Shweta’s younger sister, Asmita — who is currently appearing for her Class 12 exams under the state board — is part of the theatre team. “Once my exams are over, I will join the rehearsals,” she said.
Rani Patil, 14, who is also busy with her Class 10 exams, said the play would sensitise others to the trials and tribulations of the lives of her ilk.