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Gender-based Violence Among Female Sex Workers Of Kamathipura, Mumbai, India: A Contextual Analysis

Sharvari Karandikar College of Social Work The Ohio State University

karandikar-chheda.1@osu.edu May 27, 2010

Presentation Outline

Location of research: Mumbai, India Nature of Sex-trafficking in India Nature of Sex Work in India Purpose of the Research Overall Findings of the Research

Trafficking in person study Commission: research subcommission Research Part I Research Part II Major Findings

Location of Study: Kamathipura

Asias largest red-light area (Menen, 2007) Almost 200 years old 5,000 sex workers (male, female and transgendered) 90 percent sex workers have some sexually transmitted infection at any given point of time (Gangoli, 2006) 70 percent are estimated to be HIV positive (Avert, 2006)

Location of Study: Kamathipura

Kamathipura was originally settled by construction workers called Kamathis In 1800s, British troops brought European women for sex work to Bombay They were provided rooms in Kamathipura which were later termed as brothels Gradually sex workers from India settled in this area (Tambe, 2004)

Nature of sex work in Kamathipura India

Kamathipura is divided in 14 lanes 7 lanes have brothels and are populated by sex workers Other lanes have lowincome houses, shops, tea stalls, small factories etc Sex workers are both, Brothel-based and Streetbased Sex workers earnings range from $1-$200 per day Sex workers of all age groups are seen in Kamathipura

Nature of sex trafficking in Kamathipura India

Destination city for trafficking victims Majority sex workers are victims of sex-trafficking

Average age of entry is 12 years

From rural areas to Mumbai Nepal and Bangladesh to Mumbai South India to Mumbai

Purpose of the Study

To explore experiences of gender-based violence among female sex workers of Kamathipura To study the social, economic, political and legal context in which violence occurs

Micro-context Intimate partners, pimps, clients, brothelowners

Female Sex Worker

Mezzo-context Police, social workers, health-care workers

Macro-context Legislatures, policymakers, health ministers, etc.

Research Questions

How do sex workers of Kamathipura, India define and explain gender-based violence (GBV) in their day-to-day lives? What are the perceptions of stakeholders on sex work in general? What are the perceptions of stakeholders on violence against sex workers of Kamathipura? How do sex workers individual experiences relate to the broader social, economic, political and legal context of Kamathipura?

Research Methods
Phase I (pilot) [May-June, 2006]

Phase II [December-February, 2008]

10 Female Sex Workers Interviews were done in collaboration with Prerana and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences

10 Female Sex Workers 13 Male Clients, Pimps, Partners 5 Female Brothel-keepers 5 Social Workers 2 Police Officers


Severe forms of coercion and violence reported from intimate partners, pimps, clients, and the police

Majority of sex workers were HIV positive Transition in the role of male partners from Clients to Intimate Partners to Pimps

Expressed anxiety over safety and security in the red-light area

Difficulty in condom negotiation and HIV prevention

Results Continued

Female sex workers reported partners becoming pimps, managing their business Male partners considered pimping to be a way of helping

Males followed sex workers, controlled their time, number of clients and income

Female sex workers viewed help as a nuisance Female resistance was dealt with by actual physical, sexual violence

Male partners perceived their roles as protectors


Sex workers identified themselves as victims of violence

Normal household issue

Women have to be beaten for their mistakes We have a right to beat if she does not listen

Male intimate partners did not identify themselves as perpetrators Male partners acknowledged use of violence

Overall Summary of the Research

The research highlighted the macro and micro-context of sex work, particularly with reference to India Analyses of these contexts indicated sex workers economic, social, political and legal vulnerabilities At a macro-level, sex workers were victims of the criminalization policy At a micro-level, sex workers were physically, sexually and financial exploited on a regular basis The findings provide a unique and in-depth understanding into the lives of sex workers in India and generated ideas for research, social work practice, and policy

Practice Implications

Developing strategies to work with male partners on violence prevention in Kamathipura Gender sensitization workshops to break patriarchal myths Interventions such as Bystander intervention model and Johns School

AVERT. (2005). HIV/AIDS in India. Retrieved September 19, 2005 from http://www.avert.org/aidsindia.htm

Dutton, M.A., & Goodman, L.A. (2005). Coercion in Intimate Partner Violence: Toward a new conceptualization. Sex Roles, 52,743-756.
Gangoli, G. (2000). Silence hurt and choice: Attitudes to prostitution in India and the west. London School of Economics. Lim, L. (1998). The sex sector: The economic and social bases of prostitution in Southeast Asia. Geneva: International Labor Organization. Menen, R. (2007). Karma Sutra, Essays from the margin. Canada: Saga Books


Graham-Kevan, N. (2006). Partner violent typologies. In J. Hamel & T. Nicholls (Eds.), Family interventions in domestic violence: A handbook of gender-inclusive theory and treatment (pp. 145-163). New York: Springer Publishing. Guttman, M. C. (1997).Trafficking in men: The anthropology of masculinity. Annual Review of Anthropology, 26, 385-409. Johnson, M. P. (1995). Patriarchal terrorism and common couple violence: Two forms of violence against women. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 283-294. Johnson, M. P. (2001). Conflict and control: symmetry and asymmetry in domestic violence. In A. Booth, A. C. Crouter, & M. Clements (Eds.), Couples in conflict (pp. 95-104). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Human Trafficking in Ohio

Research Sub-commission established (July 2009) within the Ohios State Trafficking in Persons Study Commission Research sub-commission decided to undertake research in two parts Part 1: Estimate the number of victims of human trafficking in Ohio Part 2: Understand the experiences ( problems, difficulties) of victims of human trafficking in Ohio

Research Part 1

Research Committee Members

Celia Williamson, Ph.D. Chair University of Toledo Sharvari Karandikar-Chheda, Ph.D. Ohio State Jeff Barrows, M.D. Gracehaven Trisha Smouse, Coalition on Human trafficking Gene Kelly, Clark County Sherriffs Office Peter Swartz, Toledo Police Department Nadia Lucchin, Not for Sale Campaign Mark Ballard, Immigration Customs Enforcement


Based on reports, databases, newspaper articles, and research articles, the team developed risk factors for foreign-born victims that may be most prevalent in Ohio. The framework for estimating the prevalence of human trafficking in Ohio was taken from Clawson, Layne, and Smalls (2006) study entitled, Estimating Human Trafficking into the United States: Development of a Methodology.

Ohio: Case Study

Transit, Destination and Origin State The Presence of Markets for Human Trafficking Demand for Sexual and Labor Services in Neighboring States The Presence of Sizable Populations of Foreign Born Individuals Weak Laws that would Attract Potential Traffickers & Their Victims

Factors contributing to trafficking in Ohio include

Ohios response to trafficking is weak, Ohios first responders to human trafficking remain unaware and unprepared and services are insufficient Customers who purchase youth remain protected, and traffickers suffer minimal consequences Ohio youth experience high rates of vulnerability

Major Findings

Ohio Youth Ages 12 to 17 =675,922 Estimate of the Total At-Risk Ohio Youth Population= 3,016 Estimated to be Trafficked=1,078