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Daughters of Mumbai sex workers narrate their harrowing past on UK stage

Daughters of Mumbai sex workers narrate their harrowing past on UK stage

The daughters of sex workers in Mumbai’s redlight district of Kamathipura retold their experiences in a performance at the Edinburgh Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival.

One of the daughters of sex worker Kavita Hosmani told that she always wanted to be a Sufi singer but was not encouraged at home. Her father died when she was just four. Narrating life’s cruelties which she experienced from a very tender age, she said she has seen abusive clients and lecherous policemen wanting sex or money, so it isn’t very hard for her to play their part.

As reported by TOI, 15 young women, aged 15 to 22, are enacting nine shows inside a church at the Edinburgh Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival. They are also performing at theatres, community centres and temples around Britain as well.

Before going to the Fringe they premiered “Lal Batti Express (Red-Light Express)” in London. It is a show in which the stories of victims of trafficking are told as a train journey which stops at different stations reflecting periods in their life.

Hosmani felt “amazed” meeting sex workers in the UK. She and her friends even stayed in a sex workers’ house. They realised that they had the same struggle. Hosmani told that some of the UK sex workers admitted that they enjoyed having sex, while some said they were forced into it. She revealed that the audience comprised mainly Scots and said many audiences cried watching their performance.

Sixteen-year-old, Rani has now learnt to smile very often. Her father died when she was only 11 year old. Within hours, of his death, Rani’s mother, a sex worker, brought home a man, describing him as her ”new” father. She recalled that the man used to beat her and her mother almost every day. Fed up with this Rani ran away to live in a shelter run by Kranti. However she has now let go of anger against her mother and stepfather as she says she has learnt that the biggest gift you can give to yourself and others is forgiveness.

Ashwini Mane, another performer recalled that she was bundled off to a Christian hostel at the age of 8, because her single mother, who made her living as a sex worker in Kamathipura, was unable to provide for her. She found the hostel too strict and hated it, so after her mother died when she was 17 she ran away and moved into the Kranti hostel.

The girls will perform in Glasgow and Elgin next week. All the actors have been helped by an NGO, Kranti, which works to turn sex workers’ daughters into agents of social change. They call themselves “Krantikaris,” or revolutionaries. Many of the actors on stage have harrowing pasts and a history of abuse, violence and depression.

A United Nations report has found there are 3 million commercial sex workers in India, of which 40 percent are estimated to be children.