A Contemporary Hell: Life Inside a Bangladeshi Slum Brothel

Collection with 19 media items created by Miguel Candela

Bangladesh 07 Mar 2015 05:45

Prostitution in Bangladesh has been legal since the year 2000. However, as Bangladesh is a conservative Muslim country, prostitution carries negative social stigmas. Despite this, severe poverty and economic stagnation have forced women previously employed in other sectors to become prostitutes. Furthermore, many sex workers are underage and child prostitution is rife. Female sex workers are often abused and and always underpaid, earning as little as $0.50 per customer.

However, there is growing awareness among sex workers and they have started to organize themselves in unions. One organization of sex workers is called the “Prostitute Association of Faridfur,” founded in Faridpur district, near the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. These associations were formed to establish a “union” among sex workers and protect them from abuse. Despite the face of a unified force in having associations to represent these sex workers, radical Islamic conservatives have openly condemned these women. In 2010, these radicals burned a brothel to the ground. That incident injured two women and left all of the other tenants homeless. 

These photos offer intimate portraits of women who's daily lives consist of abuse and exploitation as they struggle to survive on the fringes of one of the poortest societies on earth. 

Women's Rights Women's Day Bangladesh Discrimination Forced Prost... Prostitution Child Prosti... Religion Islam Sex Worker Sex Trafficking Abuse Women Abuse Child Abuse Rape Infectious D... Brothel Hiv Non Governme... Female Human Interest Human Rights Helpless Internationa... Violence Aga... Drama Broken Lives Islamic Attack Attacked Human Life Life Sentence Hatred Sexism Prejudice Judgement Injustice Powerless Hopeless

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Bangladesh Brothels 01
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Miguel Candela
19 Jan 2011

In the district of Faridpur, a rural area near the capital Dhaka, these outcast women were forced to live and work in a brothel.

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Bangladesh Brothels 02
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Miguel Candela
20 Jan 2011

A sex worker relaxes as she waits for her next customer.

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Bangladesh Brothels 03
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Miguel Candela
20 Jan 2011

This little girl takes a brief moment to forget the harsh realities of the brothel. It is not rare to find girls between 7-13 years old involved in prostitution.

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Bangladesh Brothels 05
Faridpur
By Miguel Candela
19 Jan 2011

With the world economy taking a downturn, life in these slums has also taken a turn for the worst.
Prices go up while salaries stay the same, which means customers spend less. Condoms have
become luxuries. Prostitutes wait for clients at the entrance of the three floor brothel.

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Bangladesh Brothels 06
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Miguel Candela
20 Jan 2011

Rojina used to be a textile worker, until she had an affair with a family member. In their rage, she was nearly stabbed to death and forced out of her family. She had little choice but to turn to a life as a sex worker to make a living. To this day, she sends part of her meagre earnings to her family, in hope of being forgiven.

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Bangladesh Brothels 07
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Miguel Candela
19 Jan 2011

A sex work puts on make-up in her room and place of work. As younger girls dominate the sex worker industry in Bangladesh, maintaining their youthful looks are the only guarantee older women keep earning their living and having a stable clientele.

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Bangladesh brothels 08
Faridpur
By Miguel Candela
20 Jan 2011

Bristi was born at the brothel 15 years ago to a mother who worked there. During her life, her grandmother took care of her and tried very hard to help Bristi avoid her mother's mistakes. Now, after her family faced economic difficulties, she too recently became a sex worker.

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Bangladesh Brothels 09
Faridpur
By Miguel Candela
20 Jan 2011

"If I could go to another place, marry someone who would knows nothing about my past, maybe I could escape this shame that I feel" says Bristi (15 years old at the time of this photograph was taken)

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Bangladesh Brothels 10
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Miguel Candela
20 Jan 2011

A sex worker fixes her hair and gets ready before clients show up.

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Bangladesh Brothels 11
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Miguel Candela
19 Jan 2011

24 year old Asha'€™s first contact with the sex industry was when she was 9, after she was badly beaten and raped. While interviewed, she cried in sorrow as she recalled recent years.

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Bangladesh Brothels 12
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Miguel Candela
19 Jan 2011

The small room from which Asha earns between 50 and 150 takas ($0.50-$2.00) per service.

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Bangladesh Brothels 13
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Miguel Candela
19 Jan 2011

Prostitutes gather water inside of the brothel. Earning barely enough to put food on the table, their living quarters can hardly be called a home.

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Bangladesh Brothels 14
Faridpur
By Miguel Candela
19 Jan 2011

After being raped, Lima (15) was forced to work in the prostitution industry. She has 7 to 12 clients each day and charges 1.3 to 2.5 USD per service.

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Bangladesh Brothels 15
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Miguel Candela
19 Jan 2011

Lima (15 at the time of tis photo) feels imprisoned in an eternal nightmare where each day is as meaningless and hard as the previous day. When she was asked what she wanted to be as an adult or later on in the future, she replied: "I wish that I could get married so I could leave this life. But I know my dreams will never come true. That'€™s why I prefer not to think about the future anymore."

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Bangladesh Brothels 17
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Miguel Candela
20 Jan 2011

A sex worker gets ready at the entrance to her bedroom.

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Bangladesh Brothels 18
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Miguel Candela
20 Jan 2011

Sex workers and clients negotiates the fee. With more and more customers unable to afford their services, inviting them has become even tougher.

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Bangladesh Brothels 19
Faridpur
By Miguel Candela
20 Jan 2011

Julie's father was handicapped after a traffic accident. Her father was the sole bread winner. Her family hasn't been the same since then. She agreed to work in the brothel to help out. She never expected to experience the hell she goes through there.

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Bangladesh Brothels 22
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Miguel Candela
19 Jan 2011

As clients demand younger girls, old sex workers become madames; the organizers of the brothel. This completes the never-ending, vicious cycle of the brothel.

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Bangladesh Brothels 24
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Miguel Candela
19 Jan 2011

Society has forced these women to live in darkness. For them there is no break in their society. They are used and hated in equal measure. Their services are demanded, while they are simultaneously pushed to the margins of society.