Here they are subjected to physical and mental torture if they refuse to abide by the wishes of the keeper.
As most women have no formal education, they have no knowledge of how much they earn.
Till then, as previous 1864 Census figures for Bombay indicate, other areas had a larger population of prostitutes, like Girgaum (1,044), Phanaswadi (1,323) and Oomburkharee (1,583) compared with Kamathipura (601), all which declined after 1864.This small region boasted the most exotic consorts.Due to tough police crackdown, in the late 1990s with the rise of AIDS and government's redevelopment policy that helped sex workers to move out of the profession and subsequently out of Kamathipura, the number of sex workers in the area has dwindled.In 1992, Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) recorded there were 50,000 sex workers here which was reduced to 1,600 in 2009, with many sex workers migrating to other areas in Maharashtra and real estate developers taking over the high-priced real estate.An in-depth study of the red-light area and the pattern of functioning reflect the dehumanizing situation that the commercially sexually exploited women face every day.
They are pushed into the trade at a young age, at times even before they attain puberty.
There is little interaction between areas, which makes it harder for social organizations to organize them into a movement or union.
Further, lack of public opinion, political leadership or social activism which is empathetic towards them means a tough time forming unions.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, a large number of women and girls from continental Europe and Japan were trafficked into Kamathipura, where they worked as prostitutes servicing British soldiers and local Indian men.
Gradually, social stratification also took place: A busy road in Kamathipura was known as Safed Gully (White Lane) owing to the European prostitutes housed here during the British Raj. The most well-known brothel in the area, Pila House, is the hybridisation of its original word: Playhouse.
In 2005, with a statewide ban on dance bars, many dancing girls, who couldn't find other means of income, moved to prostitution to survive, in Mumbai's red-light districts, like Kamathipura.