Growing up in Red Light District
Project info

Red light areas have always been a different world, where people live by different rules. It is certainly not a free world. The photographs I have enclosed are of sex workers and their children in Budhwarpeth, an area in the heart of the old city of Pune. This part of town is also the third largest red light district in India; spread across one kilometer and home to around four thousand sex workers.

Every photographer or photojournalist has mostly focused on the adults when covering or documenting a red light area. I was curious about the children in the area hence my project focuses on the children growing up in the red light area.

Like most mothers, sex workers love their children. Sometimes, they are the only reason these workers are able to survive living in such difficult conditions. Surrounded on all sides by illegal activities, criminals, goons, and pimps, these children grow up in small hovels on the edge of a dark world protected only by their innocence, a state their mothers strive to prolong.

The children are sent away to spend the evenings and nights at an NGO close by, where they are given basic instruction and a safe place to sleep, returning only to their homes during the daytime. There they live with their mothers, in a broken down world, shunned by normal society, on the periphery of childhood.

I adhere to a personal policy or philosophy to document unposed moments, using a 35mm lens. None of the images have been cropped and presented to you as I envisioned the scene in front of me.