The narrow streets and alleys of Kamathipura and Pila House well-known Red Light areas, normally packed with tourists, male members and people, were largely deserted after government ordered bars and restaurants closed due to corona virus. People are not allowed to walk on the street’s restrictions are also for sex workers. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. Sex workers can be one of the greater sources to spread the epidemic as they live in very unhygienic conditions.
Asha Mamidi, Shiv Sena worker said, “Since the 1st case of virus (HIV) in India were reported in 1986 in 6 Madras prostitutes. Since that time, the Government of India has taken steps to screen the prostitute population for antibodies to HIV and remove infected prostitutes from practice. For example, the Indian Council for Medical Research has offered a monthly stipend to any HIV-infected prostitute willing to retire–an offer that no prostitute has accepted. Similarly, now also government should render them help in COVID-19 case.”
“We all Shiv Sainiks are following our leader Uddhav Da and making it a point that maximum people receive help”, she further added.
A transgender social worker Hamidi said, “There are no indications that health education materials targeted toward prostitutes have led to any changes in their sexual behavior.”
Another social worker for Kamathipura Parmesh Mamidi told Afternoon Voice that, “Kamathipura is completely closed, morning 7 to 10 am some social workers and Shiv Sena workers are distributing vegetables to people on cheaper prices. BMC is frequently spreading bleaching and pesticides on the roads; they are maintaining cleanliness and hygiene. My family personally supplying food to police stations and needy people around. We are taking care of the people as our personal responsibility.”
When we asked about sex workers out of business issues he said, “Those who have Kothas and homes are not the sufferers but those who used to stand on the roads and do sex work are at stake but many NGO’s have rendered them help. This is time of crises and we are following the instructions of our Maharashtra CM and making it sure that no one sleeps empty stomach in our area. Police too are showing tremendous human side, they are also helping people with basic needs”
In Bombay, an estimated 100,000 acts of sexual intercourse with infected prostitutes takes place each day. Many health officials now believe that health education campaigns aimed at the clients of prostitutes and encouraging them to use condoms would be more effective than the present approach. Similarly, no one here is using marks or sanitizer in spite of government orders, the clients reach here somehow are also least bothered about their health.
The police have closed many hotels in nearby area after sex workers in the area ignored the government measures instructing people to stay inside to the further spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19). following repeated complaints from local residents.
“We still saw prostitutes on the streets soliciting, all while the government is calling on the whole population to stay inside,” said Ramkishor Yadav a fruit seller of Kamathipura.
“This concerns both prostitution on the street and prostitution and buildings,” he added.
Police officer on Bandobast said, “Law is equal to all and we are maintaining strictly that no one roams on the street without reason, some NGO’s reached with aids here and we are doing our duty, as a human they too need to understand what goes best for their health.”