Prostitutes Resist Eviction From Bangladesh Brothels

Authorities in Bangladesh intend to close the largest red light district in Tanbazar, including some of the oldest brothels. The district, which has been in operation since the British arrived in the 18th century, houses approximately 18 brothels.

However, 3,500 prostitutes have defied orders of eviction, saying that they do not want to leave the district. Many women commented that an increased number of policemen have been monitoring the area recently, preventing women from earning money. In addition, prostitutes argue that their electricity and water has been turned off and that “they [authorities] have given us nothing. They did not refund crores (tens of millions) of taka they took as security deposits and savings from us.”

Currently, prostitutes earn about 1,000 taka, or $20, per day, half of which pays for rent. Several of the women also have children to support.

AIDS workers and other healthcare providers who distribute condoms to the prostitutes said that is would be easier to control and confine diseases if the district remains open. Otherwise, the prostitutes will disperse, but continue working in various areas, making it difficult to monitor them.

LEARN MORE Click here to read women’s narratives about barriers or successes in accessing reproductive health and family planning services.


BBC - July 13, 1999

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