Stolen lives

Joanna Moorhead; 6/4/10

I am walking along a brightly painted corridor when a couple of young girls catch first my eye, and then my arm. They smile at me, and giggle; they look about the same ages as my elder daughters, 17 and 15. Just like my daughters, these girls have taken a lot of time over their make-up and their clothes, and they look beautiful. In their faces I see the same fun and youthful optimism that I see every day in my own house. But there the comparisons end. Because I am in Faridpur in central Bangladesh, on the banks of the Padma River, and these girls are sex workers. Each day they must have intercourse with four or five men, for the price of about 100 taka, or less than $2, a time. And for most of the girls here, there is no monetary gain whatsoever: because most of the inmates (and it is, in many ways, like a prison) at this Faridpur brothel are chhukri, or bonded sex workers, sold by their families to a madam in return for two or three years in which she, the brothel owner, can pocket all their earnings.

See:; Guardian