Sex workers forced out of Kamathipura after redevelopment plans took off last month have now set up shop at Turbhe in Navi Mumbai
Kamathipura's legendary 'red light' will now shine at Turbhe in Navi Mumbai. After Mid Day reported on the redevelopment of Mumbai's oldest red light district located at Grant Road (E) to make way for an affluent residential colony, and sex workers being rendered homeless, the latest on the issue is that the sex workers have already relocated to Indira Nagar in the industrial area of Turbhe.
Sex workers (seen here at Kamathipura in a file photo) are
hoping to find customers among labourers at Turbhe's industrial
Sanjay Shinde of the Kamathipura Bachao Samiti, an organisation fighting to save Kamathipura, and for the rights of commercial sex workers said, "Nearly a month ago when some landlords evicted sex workers from their rented rooms, the women wept and refused to move from the streets outside.
They have now decided to shift to Turbhe, an area that has an existing sex trade, although not as established as Kamathipura." Most of the sex workers were piled into a truck with their belongings and shifted to Navi Mumbai, he said. Turbhe is a 10-minute drive away from Vashi and mainly houses production units. Sex workers are hopeful at finding customers among labourers working at the units.
Dr Ishwar Gilada, Honorary Secretary of the Peoples' Health Organisation India, said, "Women from Osmanabad and Latur migrated here after the earthquake, and that's how Turbhe developed a sex trade pocket. The women from Kamathipura are finding it comfortable here because rents are cheap."
He stresses however, for the need for government agencies to step in and work towards rehabilitating women from Kamathipura, and take a decision on whether Turbhe should be the next red light district.
Real estate experts say builders are lured by Kamathipura on account of its central location and proximity to south Mumbai. "The current rate in and around Kamathipura is in the bracket of Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 per sq ft," a broker said.