By Anonna Dutt:
Seven years later, she had come back to the profession she belonged to. This was not because she liked it but because she had no other alternative. She had come back to prostitution!
Many years ago, she was forced into the profession due to her needs. She had a son and her husband had abandoned her. This was her last resort to give her son a good life. She was apprehensive about it, but entered the field anyways. Her only thought was that her son would have a good life and would be educated!
As a new girl under a Malkin, she used to sit in one corner of the room, mute. The other girls in the room used to bring her customers and she used to do her job, again returning back to her usual posture. She had lost everything, her husband, her self -respect, her desire to live! Her son was the only reason for which she was alive. After a few months she was in a very bad condition. She was sleep- deprived, food — deprived and very unhealthy! She somehow made her body work. She had to do it, for her son.
After earning some money, she got her son admitted to a good school. He was happy and thankful to his mother for his education. He grew up and started working in a bank. He was a big man now and his mother knew that now he would support her. Thus, she quit the profession that she never wanted to be in. She never told her son what she had done all these years for a living.
Her son was more than happy to see his mother back and they lived happily for a few months. Until, one day a man came and told her son what she used to do earlier. He could not believe his ears but thought of confronting his mother. When she admitted to be a sex worker, with tears in her eyes, he abused her. He abused his own mother, who had brought him up single handed.
Not only did her son make her life a living hell, even her neighbours had come to know that she had been a sex worker and passed comments at her whenever they saw her. Her son also got a tough time and could take no more, so, he refused to take care of her. She started working as a maid servant to support herself and be near her son. The men of every house she worked in wanted sexual gratification. She could take it no longer.
One day, someone in her mohalla registered a false case against her and she was arrested by the police. Her son did not even come to meet her. She understood that her son no longer wanted her. He considered the same profession that made him what he is, immoral! When she was released from the jail after two days, she went back to the place where she belonged, Sonagachi. She knew that at least the girls there genuinely cared for her. She never looked back to see her son again…
This is how societal pressure denied a woman the right to chose. She could not get out of the place where she never wanted to be. Now, she is fighting for the worker’s right for sex workers, so that, unlike her, other girls can choose to leave the profession!
The story is that of a real commercial sex worker. Rita di (named changed) is one of those millions of sex workers who struggle to find a space for themselves in the societal norms that denounce them because of their profession. Youth Ki Awaaz has taken a stand to present voices of these unheard sex workers. Do drop in your views below.