“Koto taka? (How much money?)” This is how the sex workers of Sonagachi, India’s largest red light area, negotiated with their customers. However, now in the narrow alleys no one is talking about sex, it’s all about money.
The area has almost 10,000 sex workers and they have been hit hard by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation policy. The sex workers are paid only in cash; after the banning of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes, they are hardly getting customers. The worst affected are the sex workers who charged below Rs 500.
Usha Cooperative Bank, where the sex workers save their earnings, has seen a sudden increase in deposits. But the cooperative bank is not exchanging old currency, and even withdrawals are not happening. Reason being the bank has no new currency or lower denomination notes.
It’s a double whammy for the sex workers as neither can they earn anything nor can they withdraw their hard earned money.
Inputs: Sanjoy Deb
Video Editor: Ashutosh Bhardwaj