Unspoken, unheard stories are the most realistic and interesting in India. Corona Pandemic has exposed different corners of human emotions. Change and transformations in the attitude were the core element of different Story.
One of the inspirational stories among such stories is the “Story of change in the red light area” in the times of COVID-19.
Until recent times, Budhwar Peth in the Pune area the hub of 2500 sex workers, has not reported any corona positive in a few months.
It was difficult for Maharashtra not for Red-Light Area:
Maharashtra had a very tough corona attack compared to any other state in India. The high density of population and slum areas along with the difficult infrastructure were major concerns.
Not just Mumbai, Pune also had suffered a huge bolt because of the rapid spread of COVID-19 in certain areas. Speaking about the “Red Light area” it’s a road not taken in corona times.
The mutual effort of Police and sex workers had made this huge unachievable task possible. In the beginning, it was very difficult to bring basic awareness itself. Thereafter at a slow pace, the severity of the situation was explained. Both for the customers and sex workers to keep the business strictly closed.
Story of Change In India’s Biggest Red-Light Area:
In that beginning period, Pune was suffering from the highest positive cases. The total shine and strive of the city were gone. Lockdown was being implemented on the basis of guidelines and the count of cases.
In this period some NGOs have reached the unexpected regions to spread awareness and it was India’s biggest Red-light area. Police have cooperated with these NGO’s to make their work reach the corners of the region without disruptions of business heads.
According to NGO’s, Change was very difficult initially. Sex workers were completely dependent on the business for the day to day needs even, shutting down the business was a nightmare to them.
Regular thermal checkups along with awareness camps were conducted. Police have sealed the area totally for four months almost from outside. The area was sealed, and total containment followed even the cases were low with regard to individuals’ safety.
The biggest achievement in this difficult time is that there was no causality reported in the area.
Almost for four months no positive were reported very recently there some 15 cases.
Effect on Business and About Basic necessities:
Most of the sex workers were suffering from a lack of basic necessities after sealing the business. Some NGO’s have distributed the Ration for the initial days.
The ration distribution was not comprehensive, due to this many sex workers started going back to their own villages. In the lockdown times, it was impossible for any alternate employment for the people who were unable to find in normal times even.
Sex workers with symptoms started coming forward themselves for testing.
At a certain point, the number of positive cases was very high, then the medication and home quarantine arrangements were made.
This led to understanding the severity of the situation in the region. Wearing the Mask and using the sanitizer has slowly become the daily new normal in the red-light area.
Started Digital Payments and Phone Sex:
Every situation gives humans to come up with an alternative possibility. Virtual and online platforms came at the rescue for their business. According to some of the sex workers, Phone sex was in high demand with the increasing lockdown period step by step. The ideal individuals at home with high availability of phones and the internet made this business more lucrative.
Even in the Demonetization period also the Red-Light Area has not faced any issue with receiving cash. Digital app payments solved the issue of infection or contamination.
After Unlocking the Lockdown:
No entry without Masks and Gloves is the new norm for customers. NGO workers had disguised themselves as customers and tested them. But all the business heads and sex workers refused any customer without a mask or washing hands with sanitizer.
Some others have provided the facility of bath and thermal scans for the customers.
Why there were NO cases for four months:
After the regular checkups and home quarantine arrangements, the condition of the area totally changed.
Audio-video clips of awareness and corona fighters have helped them with positivity they say. After the peak of cases, the total seal and complete shutting of business have helped them achieve it.
The nutrition levels and immunity levels of these workers were very bad, because of the NGO donations and other donations they were able to fight strong.
Original Tragedies of India’s Largest Sex workers area – Budhwar peth:
Most of the girls are from Nepal and Bangladesh also apart.
Aasha (name changed) She said to Punekarnews that, “maintaining the family is my most significant expense. I have to send money to my brothers as they earn very little through agriculture. My parents are growing old and often fall ill. I bought two auto-rickshaws for both the brothers but they do not get enough of it to make ends meet. Another problem is disclosure at home. Nobody at home knows the nature of my work or my marital status.”
The majority of the workers here are homeless and receive no recognition or benefit from the government. The work involves many chronic diseases to high potential risks like AIDS contamination also.
Since decades the tragedies of these were cinematic in nature but not concerned by the political arena. Many of the Sex workers sleep on roadside pavements or on streets even. When they get the customers, they rent a room or place but still, their basic necessities are a daily struggle.
In a country with innumerable complaints from well-settled posh areas, this transformational story comes from the most unexpected corner – Red Light Area. It’s a combination of hope and despair in the reality we live in.
Unspoken, unheard stories are the most realistic and interesting in India. Corona Pandemic has exposed different corners of human emotions. Change and transformations in the attitude were the core element of different stories.