Mohammad Khairul Alam
Lately, prompted by the
concern over the spread of HIV/AIDS, commercial sex workers have been the focus
of a great deal of attention, first and foremost with the aim of promoting safe
sex as a method of preventing disease. Even with the many groups active among
sex workers, and despite the government’s obvious interest in the matter, there
has been no correct consideration of the total number of people practicing the
Bangladesh. Rough estimates propose that there are well over half million sex
workers in the country, with the district of Dhaka, Chitagong, Khulna,
and Shilet being considered “vulnerable zones of HIV/AIDS”.
If matters related to the
safety of sex work and the rights of sex workers are to be addressed, it is
significant first to recognize the extent of the industry, its demography as
well as the conditions of work. One of the most systematic and coherent studies
of the industry was recently carried out in Dhaka, a city of about
eight million people.
has a traditional profile different from other district. But as the HIV figures
suggest, and as the survey confirms, the traditional image is only a veneer
behind which lurk many secret dealings. The survey conducted by Rainbow Nari O
Shishu Kallyan Foundation(Rainbow Foundation) & L.R.B. Foundation that has been
working with sex workers and the gay community in Dhaka for close to 1 years,
estimates that there are over five thousand commercial sex-workers in Dhaka. The
Join survey actually maps 3000 of these sex workers in the city area.
This hidden business
continues by four element sex workers, clients, brokers and broker’s agencies.
The Rainbow Foundation & L.R.B. Foundation jointly survey focuses on the
attitude, behavior and practice of Commercial Sex Workers (CSWs) in Dhaka
and classifies them into four categories. They are the Residence Sex Workers (RSWs),
Street Sex Worker (SSWs), Hotel Sex Workers (HSWs) and Mobile Sex Workers (MSWs).
Another two categories is also found such as Call Girls or Society Call Girls
(who typically have a higher socio-economic profile and provide services to
wealthier clients), this type is come out of Hotel (HSWs) & Mobile Sex Workers
MSWs). And other type is Floating Sex Workers, who is also a mix group; it is a
sub group of Street Sex Workers (SSWs) and Mobile Sex Workers (MSWs). On the
other hand we can say all type Sex Worker in Dhaka City is Mobile Sex
Workers without Residence Sex Workers.
Usually Sex trade is not
legal in Dhaka City.
There is no any reported brothel now. A famous brothel was in central and
another brothel was near the city at Narayangonj. About 6000 to 7000 thousand
sex workers lived in there. After withdrawal these brothel most of the
prostitutes did not get any rehabilitation facilities and a large number of them
are still continuing sex trade involving with residence and hotel in Dhaka city,
Of the total sample of 3000 Sex Workers, 2000 belong to the Residence category.
This category lives in residential areas and operates from their homes often
without the knowledge of anyone, including their neighbors. Run by aged sex
workers, with their own network of regular clients, new entrants soliciting
services come to these family establishments only through special contacts and
they are only allowed admission after their identity has been fully verified.
adolescent girls’ prostitution is booming in Bangladesh. Adolescent girls engage
or are forced into prostitution for trafficking or socio-economic reasons. But
in addition to sexual exploitation, they face all sorts of violence. Rainbow
Nari O Shishu Kallyan Foundation carried out a recent field investigation, the
research confirmed that adolescents girls’ prostitution is widespread in
Bangladesh, although hidden at first sight from foreigners, especially in Dhaka
city. Adolescent girls involved in prostitution are to be found in residence
homes converted into brothels or in hotels. The majority are aged 15-18.
The street workers, who
number about 500, are the next largest category. They get their clients by
waiting on the streets. Most of them run on their work separately, though some
rely on brokers for help in getting clients. The favored method of work is to
wait on busy streets, which make available custom as well as relative
confidentiality to the contract, as opposed to the less frequented localities.
Bus stops, railway stations, cinema halls and river bank are the usual locations
where the contract is negotiated, from where they go to cheap hotels, under
constriction building, narrow park place and lodges with their clients.
The third category is made
up of mobile sex workers (Call Girl), who only number between 100 and 200. They
also depend on brokers. Every evening, some one or two girls are taken out in a
rickshaw or a car/cng(baby taxi) by brokers on particular courses to visit
particular points. Typically these girls are sent to the clients only on the
basis of prior appointments. Certain hotels and resorts in and around the city
are closely associated with this arrangement, since it forms part of their
hospitality services. Under this system, the hotels procure the girls for their
customers through brokers who even make arrangements to transport them if
needed. In this category of the profession, the girls generally have a different
profile from those in the other categories. Most of their clients are short-term
business visitors to the city. Given the nature of their clientele and the
locales at which they provide services they are expected to be nice and well
dressed. Consequently, their rates are higher. Earnings likewise are highly
variable. The highest income earners are those in the mobile category (Call
The whole sex trade in
Dhaka, it is said, accompaniments under police protection, without completely
surprising of police CSWs have to face harassment. Owners of brothels that
function openly and street sex workers pay a fixed amount of money to the police
to avoid arrest and harassment.
Although the precarious conditions of the work, the sex occupation continues to
attract a stable stream of adolescent girls. Most join the job because of
poverty and financial obligations, mainly family liability. Often women get
involved with sex trading because of trafficking or marital break-up or they are
forced into it. In fact, as many as a third of the respondent said they came
into the profession because their husbands had abandoned them. Social-economical
security and stability is to bound to do that, other social factors also have a
role to play, as is evident from the fact that 5 percent say they enrolled the
trade because their lovers had deserted them.
The most of sex workers is
illiterate, are married, some are bound to do it after trafficking incident,
some have children and are in the 20-35 age group. Half of the respondents have
a single child and rest of them two or three children or family members to look
It is suspected that large
numbers of young and most single female low-paid workers may also supplement
their low wages by occasional sex trading. Such as garment workers, cleaning
workers, domestic servant, hotel workers, slum dwellers, poor female students,
some of the married women living in the community having their husband living
abroad for long time.
tag: female, male,
commercial, floating, street, sex workers, aids, hiv, csws, idus, fsws, girls,
women, consensual, premarital, exmarital, sexuality, empowerment, gender,
education, prevention, dhaka, india, pakistan, bangladesh, adolescent, teen,
teenage, truck drivers. trafficking, epidemic, street girls, knowledge, young
people, discrimination, nonconsensual, coerced sex, sexual partners, safe sex,
sexually transmitted diseases, stds, stis, sexual abuse, forced sex, risky
sexual behaviour, business, multi partner sex, heterosexual, injection,
intravenous drugs users,
men who have sex with men, msm, harassment, sugar daddies, relationships,
condom, polygamy, homosexuality, extra marital, relations, truckers, migrant
workers, gay, hijras, hermaphrodites, professional blood donors, heroin smokers,
hotel, brothel, street based commercial sex workers, casual sex workers, so
called sex workers, violence, exploitation, Rainbow Nari O Shishu Kallyan
Foundation, Mohammad Khairul Alam