“After Your Honor is Gone…”: An Exploratory Investigation of Survivors Trafficked into the Brothels of Mumbai

Rochelle L. Dalla | September 23 | 10:10 - 11:10 AM | Room 2591

India is a source, transit and destination country for trafficking in persons, especially women and girls. Mumbai, in particular, is a hot spot of commercial sex activity with trafficking as a major contributor to the brothel workers in its infamous red-light districts of Kamathipura and Falkland Road. Despite heightened interest in trafficking survivors in non-Western countries, most of the data comes from large-scale survey studies and most focused on HIV and physical health status. Rich qualitative data on the developmental trajectories of Commercial Sex Industry (CSI) survivors are largely nonexistent.

To help fill gaps in the literature, this study sought to: 1) Examine the childhood experiences of women working in the brothels of Mumbai; 2) Examine life within Mumbai’s CSI, with focus on participants’ adult relationships with family and key figures associated with brothel-based work (e.g., clients, brothel keepers, peers), and 3) to examine participants’ ability to exit Mumbai’s CSI if they so desired.

Data were collected in Kamathipura, one of Asia’s largest red-light districts and Falkland Road, a sister red-light slum district, 1km (.6 miles) from Kamathipura. Each houses approximately 5,000 – 7,500 brothel workers.

The PI collected interview data from brothel workers in Kamathipura (n =15) and Falkland Road (n =15); she was assisted by a bi-lingual (Hindi/English) doctoral student. Data were translated and transcribed into text. Transcripts were then analyzed using Thematic Analyses (Aronson, 1994); results of which will be presented.

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