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‘The greatest gift you can give is forgiveness’: Growing up a sex worker’s daughter

Afrida Ahmed

A group of Indian girls who grew up in Mumbai’s notorious red-light district, Kamathipura, have brought their stories to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, source BBC. Laal Batti Express (Red-light express) explores the struggles faced by 15 girls – whose mums are sex workers – and how after leaving the red-light area, they have found success in the power of forgiveness.These girls grew up as sex workers’ daughters in Mumbai’s red light district. They have come to Edinburgh to share their experience.Sandhya who is 21 years old shared her story. She said that growing up in her community was amazing and the sex workers there were very nice. It is the safest place for her. Things changed for Sandhya when she went to school. Abuse was going on for quite a long time and she was raped when she was 10 years old. She was discriminated because of her color. Nobody liked her since she was dark. She was the daughter of a sex worker so she was made to sit alone in her classroom.These girls have all left the red-light area and live together in a hostel. They are looked after by Kranti which is an organization that educates and empowers marginalized girls. Rani is 16 years old. She was 11 years old when her father died. She said that she was very upset with her mother since the day her father passed away, her mother brought another man in the house. Later her mother introduced the man as her new father. The new man had assaulted her and her mother everyday for the next 2 years. After this Rani moved to Kranti but her mother still faces the situation.The Kranti girls have turned their experiences into theatre. The show is centered on their own interpretations of success. Rani has learned that the biggest gift she can give to others or her own self is forgiveness. Sandhya said that everyday many people are struggling in their own way and there is a hope for them to come out in the right path. She also said that her abuse cannot stop her from doing anything and her background can never be her weakness. According to Rani, people always say that “my past is my strength”. If she wasn’t born and raised in the red light area then she couldn’t be able to reach here at this time. So, it’s all because of her past that whatever is happening to her or whatever will happen in her future.




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