Children of prostitutes: the sacrifice of mothers
3 May 2022

photo credit: Madhu Panday

Aide et Action is working with its partner Prayas on GB Road, in the heart of New Delhi, where the majority of prostitutes live and work. These women are subjected to the worst violence, locked up in cramped rooms where clients and pimps have every right. Deprived of freedom, of care and most often beaten, they must also face the rejection of society. They are condemned by their families, and do not dare to leave the GB Road area for fear of being openly despised and booed. Few of them dare to look up, preferring to lower their heads, overwhelmed by the shame of a situation they never chose, since most of them were sold as minors by their parents or by a husband to the highest bidder.

Saving their children

 "And yet, thehe women of GB Road have only one concern: the future of their children. They dream of saving them from a similar fate. But they are denied any form of education by those who control the trade and profit from it. These people know that educating young people would be detrimental to their business "Vandana, a young prostitute and mother of two, who agreed to take part in workshops and awareness-raising sessions organised by our teams to better understand these women's backgrounds, their needs and those of their children. 

Stigma and barriers from childhood 

Children born to prostitute mothers in GB Road are deprived of their childhood and are exposed to vices from an early age. They carry their mother's profession with them and this is a huge barrier. It prevents them from going to school and deprives young people from seeking a dignified livelihood outside the red light districtDeepika, one of the social workers who has joined the reception centre for children of prostitutes developed by Aide et Action and its partner, explains. The children are taken care of during the day and are offered fun and educational activities as well as an adapted diet. They have the opportunity to escape from the tragic life of their mothers for a few hours, to escape from violence, to wake up and to receive the attention they need. 

Faced with exploitation, physical distance 

But the only real way out for these children remains geographical and social distance. Indeed, being born on GB Road is not trivial and still too often dictates life paths. More often than not, girls born on GB Road become prostitutes, boys pimps. To prevent children from being sexually exploited, the project team therefore makes parents aware of the importance of registering their children at the reception centre and then putting them in shelters, either with grandparents or distant family members, or in specialised boarding schools. These institutions, located far away from the brothels, take care of the children 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, and offer them the opportunity to continue their education.

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