Though it was done for fighting the black money and curb illegal money laundering, Demonetisation has hit India and the common people hard. All types of business got affected due to it including the flesh-trade.
Cashless transactions saw an increase after the demonetisation. People are introducing digital transactions for their business. From well established shop chains to street vendors, everyone these days is seen opting for digital ways to keep their business running. And red light areas doesn’t want to lack behind.
Stuck on the doors of some of the dingy rooms at Ganga Jamuna red light area are pamphlets reading ‘Paytm accepted here’.
Though most of the commercial sex workers (CSWs) here have claimed ignorance about it, but soon it’s going to be a common practice in the red light areas.
“It was the Red Cross madam who pasted the pamphlets. She said we will get money through it under some government scheme,” said a woman in her 50s, wondering how could one pay through a mobile phone. A pan shop at the corner, however, had a card with a Paytm code.
The madam was here, added Santoshi, a commercial sex worker (CSW), admitting that she did not know what Paytm was. However, many CSWs could be seen carrying Android phones.
The cash crunch has hit even the flesh trade, so someone pushing use of this electronic wallet seems to have found a good business opportunity among the CSWs. Life has been bad for the CSWs for the last fortnight, since the home guards were stationed here due to the legislature winter session. This scared away many regular customers. Even now, regular patrols of the cops continue. No raids are launched, but the policemen are driving away CSWs and their customers from the roadsides, making it a cat-and-mouse game, say some of the women.
“The last two months were tough. It’s difficult for us to even pay our children’s school fees now. Earlier, we used to earn nearly Rs1,000 to 1,500 a day but the income has come down to negligible. The police patrols have made it worse,” said a CSW from Orissa
The Red Cross Society operates a clinic near the red light district, engaging in activities like HIV awareness and health care of the CSWs.
Though I don’t support flesh trade but the fact cannot be ignored that it’s a really big practise in India and the whole world. This seems to be an intelligent move to keep the business running !