Sonagachi Near Me.
Kolkata, the largest red-light district in Asia. Believe it or not, I went there just for curiosity… Anyway, I found it’s not easy for foreigners to find the place quickly. There is no “Sonagachi distance” point on Google Map. To google the name, all the results are not quite clear.
Sonagachi is located in North Kolkata near the intersection of Chittaranjan Avenue and Shobhabazar with Beadon Street.
— You will not find “Shobhabazar with Beadon Street”.
about one kilometer north of Kolkata’s Marble Palace area.
— It’s true, but it does not mean you could find it.
from sova bazar metro station Sonagachi is 3 minutes walking distance.
— Also true, but which direction?
The GPS coordinate on Wikipedia is not accurate as well. Actually, the red light district is not very large as you imagine. The central brothels area is smaller than any large casino in Las Vegas. Especially in daytime – maybe you are afraid to visit at night – most of the brothels seem no difference with other buildings. Walking on the street over 34 Celsius, guessing whether the lady walking around you is a prostitute. What an absurd adventure, I talked to myself.
It took me more than 2 hours seeking between Marble Palace and Sova Bazar, till I give up finding it via Google. I tried to take a tu-tu Taxi: “Sonagachi? Women?” Surprisingly (but I like it), many Taxi refused to drive me there. Some of them just showed me the direction. Then I kept walking and asking, finally I found it.
SONAGACHI – MAP.
The main streets of the red light district are Gdurgacharan Miira St and Abinash Kabiraj St. In each alley you can see many brothels and pimps and prostitutes, but they are not very far from the main streets.
Sonagachi is dangerous, with its HIV rates and some blackmail issues in the deal. But it is not so dangerous if you just want to have a look. The district is close to city central. On Gdurgacharan Miira St there are food and grocery stores. Many local people live there as a normal India busy area. At the crossing of the two main streets, policemen sit aside the shrine, with or without uniform, but it seems they are just to prevent violence.
Sonagachi price rate and Life
The worst affected are the approximately 1000 Category A workers, who charge minimum of Rs 1,500 per hour. Restricted from going on to the streets to lure customers and completely dependent on pimps to get business, these workers are slashing their rates.
“Till a few years back, we got five customers a day. Now, it is rare to get three. As a result, Category A girls, who charged up to Rs 8,000 per hour earlier, now hardly ask for more than Rs 4,000,” On the request of anonymity, a worker said, herself a Category A worker.
For Sonagachhi’s elite, the paucity of patrons is especially difficult to contend with, as most either have to pay a flat 50% to their mistresses or shell out a substantial amount for renting a room.
With profits plunging, those under mistresses are increasingly moving out of that system, despite room rents having doubled in five years. High-end rooms in Sonagachi can now cost anything between Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 per month.
“Since Category A girls can’t leave the brothels to get customers and have to give half of whatever they earn to the mistresses, many are moving into Category B, where they pay a fixed amount”. On the request of anonymity, a worker explained.
While the services of about 2,000 Category B women in Sonagachi start at Rs 500 per hour, a customer has to pay 25% of the entire charge to the pimp separately. Additionally, the sex worker has to pay the landlord a commission per client on top of a pre-negotiated sum for booking a room.
Starved of clients and facing incremental hikes in the prices of contract rooms, Category B workers are being forced to charge less and work longer hours.
“Earlier, few Category B-girls used to stand on the streets before 4 pm. But now, you can find us standing from as early as 10 am. We are having to work much harder,” On the request of anonymity, another worker said. Some Category B-girls are also charging less to build long-term relationships with customers. “We have to depend on our existing customers to come more often. Giving a discount of Rs 100 is hardly uncommon. It hasn’t been this bad since I started over a decade ago,” she adds.
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- Sonagachi is a neighbourhood in Kolkata, India, located in North