200-year-old brothel in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is one of the few Muslim countries in the world where prostitution is legalized. The Kandapara brothel in the Tangail area is the oldest and second largest in the country; it has been around for 200 years. The brothel was demolished in 2014, but it was rebuilt with the help of local NGOs. When it was destroyed many women who were born and grew up there did not know where else to do, where to go and where to find the work. Supporters of the brothel believe that sex work is a normal job and these women do not want to do anything else.

Today, in the “brothel district” area, the brothel is surrounded by a wall. On narrow streets there are food stalls, cafes and street vendors. A brothel is a place with its rules and hierarchy of power, which are completely different from the main part of society. For example, in a brothel there are women without rights, but there are also powerful ones. Read also: Marriage in Bangladesh and traditional Bangladeshi family

200-year-old brothel in Bangladesh

The most vulnerable is the stage when a young sex worker falls into a brothel – she is called a bonded girl. The bonded girl, as a rule, is from only from 12 to 14 years old! These girls come from poor families and often are victims of human trafficking. They do not have freedom and rights. They belong to Madame, have debts and can not go out on the street or save their earned money. When they pay all their debts, which take about one to five years, they become independent sex workers. Then they can refuse clients and save their earned money. Since the moment when the woman paid all the debts, she is free to leave the brothel. But these women are subject to public condemnation outside their “home”, so they often prefer to stay and continue to sell their body, thus supporting families with these earnings. Read also: Bang…Bang…Bangladesh! – country, women, culture and wedding

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