Prostitute Mothers Share Their Hardships
The reality of childrearing in the red-light districts
on Tuesday, 10 May 2011. Posted in Stories
We recently celebrated Mother’s Day in the US as a time to recognize and show appreciation to moms. In light of this holiday, we asked our anti-trafficking partner, Sahaara Charitable Society, to interview several mothers who work in the red-light districts of Maharashtra, India, as commercial sex workers. Below is the sobering reality of the struggles they face while trying to raise their children and work in the trade.
What kind of struggles do the women face in raising their children?
Most of the women are extremely poor. The lack of resources traps them in their work, and prevents them from providing suitable care for their children, such as taking them to the doctor when they get sick. The women have to make the choice between their children going hungry and spending time with them. Often the children stay with care takers while the women work. There is no space, no basic amenities and of course the lurking danger of child abuse at the hands of either the customer, the care taker or the so called "father" of the children.
As working mothers, how do they find time to spend with their children?
The women find it very hard to find time for their children. Mostly, they get to spend time with them in the afternoon, as evenings are peak times for the trade. When the women get a 10 or 15 minute break between customers, they quickly go and see their children.
Is being a mother rewarding for them? If yes or
no – why?
All of the women said that they had hoped to be mothers some day, and that motherhood has been extremely rewarding. One woman said that the highlight of her day is when she goes to meet her kids and they come running toward her with a big hug. She said that all the trauma and torture seems insignificant at that very moment. Many women said that being a mother gives them a new identity, making them more than just a prostitute. Being a mother gives them something to live for. Once they gave birth to a child, they felt like they too had been born again. If they could have one wish to grant to their children, what would it be? Many of them wished that their children could have a chance at acquiring a good education so that they could get a good job and have a better standard of living. They felt education was a powerful tool that could protect their kids from being exploited.
(If they are married) How do their husbands help in raising the children?
Some of them said that their partner was very caring and helpful during their first pregnancy. But the moment the second child was born, the partner just abandoned them and disappeared. Some of their partners live in their native places. The partners are usually unemployed, often struggle with addictions, and live off the money earned by the women from the trade.
As you can see, these mothers face extreme hardship in raising their children in the red-light districts, but there is hope! India Partners and Sahaara provide hope for women and children in up to seven red-light districts through three safe homes, where they receive food, shelter, counseling, medical care and an education. These homes give prostitute mothers and their children the opportunity of a better future as their needs are met and they experience the love of Christ through the staff.
If you would like to donate to India Partners’ programs that help commercial sex workers and children in the red-light districts, click "Donate Now" and select “Anti-Human Trafficking” from the Program Area drop-down menu. Thank you.