Nagpur: The harsh enforcement of new Covid-19 restrictions has left the Red Light (Ganga Jamuna) area deserted. With no or very few customers, the commercial sex workers (CSWs) face starvation. And no authority is bothered about the ordeal of the ‘notorious’residents. The reports about the death of a 40-year-old woman, probably due to Covid recently, turned the situation from bad to worse.
Following strict enforcement of Covid curbs, the local police are keeping a vigil on the locality, especially between 8 pm and 7 am when the “business” is at peak in normal times. The commercial sex workers are facing acute hardship as their income has dwindled drastically. Apart from fear of police action, the fear of contracting Covid-19 too seemed to have made customers wary of visiting the area.
The woman’s death seemed to have rattled the locality where the lanes are already deserted and brothel rooms locked. Many residents of the area claimed the woman died of heart attack but some stated it was merely a rumour as there was no death. Already the number of customers has reduced to almost nil as cops are always chasing them away. If there is no customer, it raises a question mark over livelihood of the commercial sex workers and their families.
The Covid-19 has posed distinct challenges for the sex workers. The economic impact in the form of loss of livelihood, shelter and food has enormous consequences. The commercial sex workers need urgent attention as they are sitting on the edge of a double-edged sword. If they continue to work, they will be affected by the virus, and if they stop working, they will break down financially and die of hunger.