I was 8 or 9 years old when I heard about these forbidden streets of South Mumbai. My grandmother rescued our domestic help's daughter who was lured into running away with her boyfriend. He brought her to Bombay. There they stayed with a friend for a few days before he made his real intentions clear to her. She had been cheated. He raped her. Invited his friends to rape her. Again and again. She was gangraped for over a month before he decided to sell her to one of the madams in Kamathipura.
She refused to sleep with other men, refused to participate in flesh trade. They would beat her with cane on her feet. Till she would give in. She stayed there for a little over three months, getting raped by different men each night. At least seven to eight men would fuck her each night. Periods was a time for some relief if a weirdo didn't turn up who enjoyed fucking menstruating women.
She was one of those fortunate women who was rescued thanks to my grandmother's contacts and a hell lot of money. She was brought back home. She was completely shaken, depressed, scared, and pregnant. Family got the child aborted, got some tests done for STDs. Thankfully everything was normal. They got her married soon enough. She is happy now, has two kids, and husband doesn't know anything about her past.
This is one of the stories. One of those rare stories where the victim was rescued. But does it happen in every case? When my grandma recites the story now, I realise how difficult it was to track her down and rescue her. The person who helped was stabbed. Luckily he survived. I have no idea what kind of risks, money and power were involved in the entire operation. What the girl must have gone through during that period.
A friend works with an NGO that works for sex workers of Kamathipura. I happen to discuss this story with her. She tells me her side of story. Rather, stories she gathered on her numerous visits to Kamathipura.
To be continued..