My juniors, Sonam Bhutia and Drishti Prasad have taken a bold step to explore the darkest places of my home town, Siliguri. Here is her report. They have done a commendable job.
(sic) “On 28th march,2014,the very next day after our ISC examination got over,my friend Drishti Prasad and I, disguised as journalists decided to visit and do a research on red light area of khalpara. Parents,teachers,society and norms have forbidden this place due to its activities involving immorality and lack of civility. We knew that this involved a huge amount of risks,since it was just the two of us alone without protection anything like kidnapping, threatening and abduction could have happened to us. Hence,we went forth.
Khalpara is located at siliguri,one of the most important town in north Bengal of West Bengal. It is located opposite Gandhi maidan. It is now considered as a major ‘wholesale’ trading centres of children and prostitution from eastern Nepal districts and other north eastern parts of India. We took a rickshaw from Venus more to reach there.
There were two wide lanes when we entered. All we could see were men and not a single normally clad female. The rickshaw-wala pointed that the houses and buildings belonging to one side of the lane were the brothels. As we passed,girls,teenagers,women dressed skimpy in bright shades with heavy makeup stood in front of their respective stalls attracting customers. There were almost twenty such brothels. Soon we halted and entered one of those. Luckily we entered the one which was the main center,spoke to the lady in charge who ran the entire section of khalpara and introducing ourselves as journalists working on a project about their lifestyle.
In the beginning she refused,trying not to believe and even tried to shoo us away. There was a huge communication gap since the language that she spoke was a local language and we tried our level best to understand her with a little bit of Hindi that we knew.
Quitting was no option. In the end she was convinced and took us inside. Our hearts were beating fast and pulse was racing as we saw the grim images inside. Teenage girls giggling in groups, women surrounded by toddlers and babies,some women bargaining and quarreling with men for money. It was an awful scene. The women were allotted small rooms each which we saw was colourful with bright lights and Bollywood posters. They get paid around Rs 300 for a night.The old lady prohibited us from taking their photos but we managed to get a few secretly.
We spoke to some of the girls . Some of them were from Nepal. Many of them were married to strangers and after a few months they were sold to khalpara brothel by their husbands. Apart from Nepal,the poor girls are also coming from different corners of West Bengal and neighbouring states of West Bengal like Manipur,Assam,Meghalaya and Mizoram. Pimps are taking advantage of poverty. Many girls left their home with consent of their parents to get a good job but ultimately landed at khalpara brothel. They said that there is a tremendous demand for Assamese and Nepali girls among the clients.”
THE GIRL IN RED TOP IS SONAM BHUTIA, ONE OF THE BRAVE DUO WHO EXPLORED THE PLACE.
IT IS PRETTY EVIDENT HOW THE LIFESTYLE OF THESE GIRLS ARE …