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Disturbing Photos Reveal What Life Is Like In A Legal Bangladeshi Brothel

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Being one of the oldest professions in the world is just not good enough to be considered legal majority of the countries. However, in few Muslim countries it still remains legal, in this case Bangladesh.

You can find the Kandapara brothel in the district of Tangail which has remained in business for the last 200 years. However, in 2014 the brothel was destroyed and most of the women where clueless about their future and therefore with the help of local NGOs it was started again.

Sandra Hoyn, a photojournalist visited the place recently and documented it. She shared that the women are both weak and powerful.

Girls who entered this industry at the age of 12 to 14 are laboured as “bonded.” While most of them come from a poor family and a few are a victim of trafficking. A bonded girl is not allowed to go out and receive money until her debts are cleared. She has the liberty to refuse a customer only after becoming an independent s*x worker.

Hoyn told:

“At the beginning, it was difficult to get access to the women and customers. Some customers didn’t want to be in the photographs, especially those with a rich family. But other customers didn’t care at all about it. Some told me they want to “refresh their mind” inside the br0thel and there is nothing wrong with it, so why should they hide?”

“Some girls hide their face and didn’t want to tell their stories, others have been very open and wanted to tell about their life,” she added.

The price for the service depends on the age, beauty of a girl and also the quality of rooms. A Kandapara s*x worker can earn between 1000-2000 Taka ($11-$22) everyday,

“Most women have the dream to earn enough money in the br0thel to buy their own house outside when they are old, and they want to not be dependent on men. They want to earn enough money to give their children a good school education at least. They want them to have a better future than they did,” explained Hoyn.

“Many women have their ‘boyfriends,’ or regular customers who pay them. I know one woman who has turned down the marriage proposals of her most faithful client because she doesn’t trust that he will let her keep her money. She’d rather maintain her independence as a sex* worker.” 

Meghla is a 23 year old girl who was taken away from a garment factory when she was 12 years old, by a man who promised her a better job with more money.

Asma is a 14 years old girl who stopped going to school because she was harassed by other students as her mother worked as a s*x worker.

Asma, 14, with a customer. She was born in the Kandapara br0thel in Tangail. Credit: Sandra Hoyn

Pakhi with a customer in the Kandapara brothel, she got into after getting married at 12, which didn’t turn out well.

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