Heartbreaking Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel

Heartbreaking Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel
Credit: Sandra Hoyn

Most of the women that become sex workers arise from low-income families or, in some cases, are sufferers of trafficking. On an average workday, a worker will earn between $11 and $19.


Warning: The following story contains graphic images and may be disturbing to some readers.

It’s one of the most ancient professions in the world. And though the act of selling one’s body is lowered in my communities, doing so is still observed as work in areas of Bangladesh, one of the rare Muslim countries where prostitution continues legally.

In the region of Tangail, one will notice the Kandapara brothel, which is the oldest and second biggest brothel in the country, reports The Independent. The area and its mission have existed for the last 200 years. They destroyed the Kandapara brothel in 2014. As a consequence, many women didn’t know where to go. So, with the help of regional NGOs, it was restarted once again.

Lately, photojournalist Sandra Hoyn traveled to the “brothel district” and reported what life is like inside the walled town. Food stalls, tea shops, and street vendors can be seen in the narrow streets, and the city is said to have its individual rules and hierarchies of power which differ considerably from mainstream society. One example Hoyn experienced is that the women are both vulnerable and powerful.

Spine-Tingling Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel
Kajol with a customer. Credit: Sandra Hoyn

Girls who enter the business, ordinarily at age 12 to 14, are labeled as “bonded.” The girls, who work in the legal industry, usually come from low-income parents and sometimes can be tools of trafficking. The girls have no freedom or rights – they belong to a ‘madam.’ For at least the first five years (on average), a bonded girl is not permitted to go out and earns no payment for her job. When she had settled her debts, she can next become a self-governing sex worker. At that time, she is allowed to refuse customers and can keep her personal money. Since the girls are socially defamed outside of the brothel area, several choose to settle and continue supporting their families from distant with what is obtained.

Hoyn told NextShark:

“At the beginning, it was difficult to get access to the women and customers. Some customers didn’t want to be in the photographs, especially those with a rich family. But other customers didn’t care at all about it. Some told me they want to “refresh their mind” inside the brothel and there is nothing wrong with it, so why should they hide?”

“Some girls hide their face and didn’t want to tell their stories, others have been very open and wanted to tell about their life,” she added.


Spine-Tingling Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel
Credit: Sandra Hoyn

The cost of the service depends on the age and beauty of each girl, as well as the quality of the bedrooms. A Kandapara sex operator might earn between 1000-2000 Taka ($11 – $22) daily, which equates to about 300 Taka ($3) per customer.

“Most women have the dream to earn enough money in the brothel to buy their own house outside when they are old, and they want to not be dependent on men. They want to earn enough money to give their children a good school education at least. They want them to have a better future than they did,” explained Hoyn.

“Many women have their ‘boyfriends,’ or regular customers who pay them. I know one woman who has turned down the marriage proposals of her most faithful client because she doesn’t trust that he will let her keep her money. She’d rather maintain her independence as a sex worker.”


Spine-Tingling Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel
Customers congregate inside the brothel. Credit: Sandra Hoyn

“The brothel is like its own microcosm, it is a city in a city.”


Spine-Tingling Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel
Meghla, 23, with a customer in the Kandapara brothel in Tangail. She started working for a garment factory when she was 12 years old. There, she met a man who promised her a better job with more money. He sold her into a brothel. Credit: Sandra Hoyn

“Officially, [sex workers] must be 18 years old, but most of them are underage.”

Spine-Tingling Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel
Asma, 14, with a customer. She was born in the Kandapara brothel in Tangail. Credit: Sandra Hoyn

Spine-Tingling Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel
Sumaiya gets beaten in the face by Titu. They are often fighting because Titu wants to marry her, but she refuses. She is afraid that after marriage he will take away all her money. He is jealous because she has sex with many of his friends. Sumaiya is jealous because he has sex with other sexworkers in the brothel. Credit: Sandra Hoyn

“Some of them take steroids like Oradexon, a drug used by farmers to fatten livestock, to look older and healthier.”

Spine-Tingling Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel
Asma stopped attending school when the students harassed her because her mother worked as a sex worker in the brothel. She started as a sex worker when she was 14 years old. Before that, she danced in front of customers. Credit: Sandra Hoyn

“The most vulnerable stage is when a young sex worker enters the brothel at the beginning as a bonded girl, usually from 12 to 14 years.”

Spine-Tingling Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel
A customer tries to kiss Priya, 19, on the cheek. She began working as a sex worker in the Kandapara brothel at 17. Credit: Sandra Hoyn

Spine-Tingling Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel
Pakhi, 15, with a customer in her room in the Kandapara brothel. She’s lived in the brothel since she was 14. She got married at 12 and ran away shortly after. A man picked her off the street and sold her into a brothel. Credit: Sandra Hoyn

“Most of them have sad stories — but they are really strong, at least outwardly. I admire that they manage their lives under these circumstances and do not give up.”

Spine-Tingling Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel
Kajol with her 6-month-old baby Mehedi and a customer on her bed. She thinks she is 17, but does not know her exact age. She was married at 9 years old. Her aunt sold her to the Kandapara brothel. Two weeks after the birth, she was forced to have sex again with customers. Because of the baby, her business is not so good. Credit: Sandra Hoyn

Spine-Tingling Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel
Sumaiya, 17, with her boyfriend and regular customer Titu, 23, in the Kandapara brothel in Tangail. He is from Dhaka and visits her every month for one week. Credit: Sandra Hoyn

“They are not just survivors or victims, they are fighting and enjoying their life in their own way.”

Spine-Tingling Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel
Bonna, 27, a sexworker in the Kandapara brothel, is laughing with a condom in her hand. When she was 7 years old, she was raped by her stepfather. She ran away from home at 10 and a man picked her off the street and sold her into a brothel. She has two regular customers. On average, she earns 1500 Taka (19 $) per day. Credit: Sandra Hoyn

Spine-Tingling Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel
Papia, 18, with two customers on the bed in the Kandapara brothel. Her parents died when she was a child and she was married young. She and her husband began doing heroin until she was put in jail. She says that the jail was the best place she has ever been because nobody beats her there. In the jail she got to know a woman who later brought her to the brothel. Credit: Sandra Hoyn

“When the women have free time, they danced and laughed together.”

Spine-Tingling Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel
Priya, 19, is teasing a friend by trying to beat him, but not seriously. Credit: Sandra Hoyn

“They are joking with each other, kidding the customers. “

Spine-Tingling Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel
Used condoms outside the Kandapara brothel in Tangail. Credit: Sandra Hoyn

“The girls are very lively and cheerful. Often they forget their sadness. They still have dreams.”

Spine-Tingling Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel
Dipa, 26 years, is crying. She is in the second month pregnant from a customer in the Kandapara brothel in Tangail. Credit: Sandra Hoyn

Please comment below and share your thoughts!
Heartbreaking Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel Heartbreaking Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel Reviewed by Κατερίνα Παπακυριακοπούλου on 8:47 PM Rating: 5

4 comments

  1. The idea of having sex with any of the men in these photos repulses me. Men are the sole creators of this tragic situation. Without them, there would be no industry. My heart goes out to these poor girls.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. didn't you read some of their female relatives sold them to the brothel? It's not just men, it's the mentality held by the people(both men & women) to discard underage girls for pennies,and the government not willing to do anything about it.

      Delete
  2. There are sure strides you can bring to manage this, by making a claim that the advance was sold to you unreasonably. Payday Loans

    ReplyDelete
  3. worldwide sadness 😢🙏🏻And 🌈 that all women can transcend such a depraved existence.

    ReplyDelete

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