The Untold Truth: Story of a Sex-Worker

An IIM-Indore Grad, Shatakshi is a published writer, awarded twice by the President of India. She tries keeping it humble though and is always ready to discuss ideas!

It all started with that one story which Aankho Dekhi, a 10-minute news-feed program did on Doordarshan. It was about a guy whose mother was a sex-worker and so he had dedicated himself to the cause of helping these ladies get out of their usual misery!

That was way back in the year 1999. Fast forward 2020 and not much has improved. This article is not going to be a commentary on the efforts done by the people over time. It is just going to be an effort from our end to step in their shoes and see how much are we able to feel and handle.

We initially thought that we will list out the problems that these sex-workers have to face on a daily basis but then we felt that it will be nothing more than a lip-service! Honestly, we haven’t yet done much to help them and so just listing out their problems will be another of the multiple stories on the internet!

So, we will just write everything that we feel or comes to our mind. It is going to be a no-filter something and we aren’t stopping at anything

Who is a Sex-Worker?

The loosely used term means any person who provides sex as a service in return for due payment. Just like we work in offices, these people work at a brothel or that is what their office is called!

Unlike you and me, however, these people do not get the respect which an average professional should get. Their wages are very low too and hence they find it hard to afford even the very basic necessities of life.

Mostly, these people are women which means that at least this sector is highly women empowered. But, it comes with its downsides! Since, this sector is predominantly women, our more than average patriarchal society does not bother about them.

Basically, a sex-worker is just another Human, although a significantly deprived one!

Why do they become a Sex-Worker?

Because they consider it as a source to earn money. Mostly, these people do not have other avenues which they can use to run their households. Some times they are forced into this trade too. Rather, at least in India, about 60 to 70% of the women working as sex-workers are the ones who never wanted a part in any of it. Rather, they were misled into this by people posing as their lovers or simply sold into the flesh trade.

Now, in a lot of European nations as well as in the Americas, sex-work or flesh-trade as we call it is legal and hence the sex-workers aren’t looked down upon. They are given as much respect as any other person. The same, however, is not the case for India.

While, if one looks at the law, prostitution isn’t illegal in India. It is pretty much legal however, seeking a client for sex-trade is what makes it illegal. So, in the parlance of the usual corporate firm, it is absolutely okay to start your business but you cannot seek a client- like what exactly is the point of it then?

Imagine, how weird this whole idea sounds in our usual workplace setup! Now, imagine that this is the reality for a lot of people.

How much can a Sex-Worker earn?

Just enough to ensure that they are alive, can feed their kids a bit, maybe send them to a school on and off but that is about it. There are high-profile call girls too who work under the mask of anonymity but our poor sex-workers, they have their identities exposed out in the open

What Happens to the Children of these Sex-Workers?

These kids never get a chance at a normal life and have to do away with every expectation of having a normal life. If they are lucky,  they get a chance to see what a school is OR to feel for a few moments what a good life may be. 

When we say, a Good Life we do not really mean a life like we usually have. 

When we say a good life for these poor kids we just mean the fact that they can maybe feel free from the clutches of the Taboo and the inherent disrespect that they have always seen in their life.

After all, it is not for nothing that every time a child who was born in or around a brothel ends up making news just because they could complete the school up till Class 12th. 

We are not trying to scare you or anything,  just telling you the truth that we felt had to be written so that you could read that and absorb it.

Is there anything we can do?

Yes, to begin with, we need to understand that this problem exists. We are a sustainability crusader and from where we stand, we can say that a sustainable society will not be called one till even the most marginalised of its section get a voice.

It is, for this reason, we thought of a few things which we as humans can do:

  • Let us accept that Sex-workers exist and that they are Humans too
  • Let us accept the fact that we do not respect them as much as we should
  • Let us accept that they are just trying to live a life and they have families too
  • Let us accept that just like you and us, they want to have a normal life too

We feel that if we do just these four things, it will be a great step, to begin with. And believe us, it is not easy because you will have to fight your mental block to come to terms with all of that!

If you do, however, we really respect you!

An Afterthought!

At a population of over a billion, we cannot say that the Indians do not love their sex. It will be an irony to be honest if the land of Kamasutra says this!

Also, the sex-trade has never seen a decline. It is growing like anything. Only if there was a way to organise it map the revenues, it will for sure be competing with the sin-taxes to run the economy.

But there is such a huge huge taboo around this whole thing which literally downplays all the possibilities for a better change!

But, that being said, we still feel that there is a scope for improvement, it will always be!

Maybe today, we will start the dialogue and probably tomorrow we will have something concrete done!

For today, let us just read and absorb that these people, these sex-workers exist and are humans too!

The Uncomfortable Truth: Story of a Sex Worker