A Strange and Shameful Address

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Kamathipura, Mumbai’s red light area, is also home to a large middle class population with day jobs and other reputable traits. But the Kamathipura branding means residents here find it hard to get loans, credit cards and life partners. Neeta, a 25-year old teacher says: “I applied for a job. I didn’t mention the street. But in the interview, I was asked for the exact location.” When she said, ‘Kamathipura’, she was asked to leave the room. “The brothels are very far away, yet people think we have something to do with them... Shift these dirty people out. We are the original inhabitants,” says Manda, a housewife. But, with gangland bosses having a stake in the brothels or owning them, it seems unlikely the prostitutes will be asked to go. Also, most prostitutes are registered voters and they seem to have political clout.