I read this absolutely appalling article in Indian Express a few days ago - which exposed an even darker side to the dark underbelly of Pune city. A story about how preteen girls sold to the flesh trade were given growth hormones so that they appeared older (just like fruits are given growth inducers to make them look riper and bigger).
The mixture of estrogens and testosterone is dangerous, (and often lethal) is forcibly given to these girls (considerately called ‘vitamins’ if you please) supposedly for the better health of the girls – but probably for the continued health of the pimps. ‘Fresh girls’ who actually look much older, have a dual advantage – on one hand, they are more ‘marketable’ and probably fetch a better price ; and on the other hand, they are also less likely to attract the attention of cops or social service workers.
To be honest, the only times I have actually spent anytime thinking about brothels or prostitutes is probably after watching movies like Chandni Bar. Most of the times, it’s just easier to shove unwelcome thoughts like that to the back of one’s mind rationalizing it with a ‘what can one do anyways?’
This somehow, refuses to go to the back of my mind. Growth hormone as a concept – (even for fruits) is disturbing, but when it comes to humans, it’s utterly absolutely, unforgivably barbaric.
It’s the ultimate form of objectification and degradation of a human being – that there is NO concern of the person’s health or long term impact of these potions on them as long as it serves the immediate purpose and brings in revenues.
Somewhere the mind rebels at the emotional repercussions of it as well, a young girl trapped in the body of a much older person. I know prostitution strips away all the emotional and mental innocence but even then.
I am aware that I am probably sounding extremely naïve in ranting like this, about something which I know less than nothing about. Pimps and brothels are hardly known for their humaneness so one more or less indignity shouldn’t really matter all that much. But still!
If brothels must exist, and I assume that its one of those necessary evils of a society, can there be at least no rules and laws which govern it and make it safer for the inhabitants?
ID cards for adult prostitutes?
Severe punishment for traffickers in underage girls?
Counselling ? (Who AM I kidding?)
Anything to humanize possibly the most inhuman-yet-most-human profession of all?