Health in the RLA
In Mumbai’s red-light areas, children and women are at a high risk of suffering from health issues as the brothels are extremely unhygienic. Some of the common health issues women in the red-light area face are:-
• Sexually transmitted diseases
• Fever and cold
• Mental health issues
We have a drop-in center at Grant Road, Mumbai where women come in for counselling and guidance. Michael, our Project Coordinator at Grant Road says, “We have had women who have come crawling to us with unbearable pain. When we go for outreach to brothels, we find women with a serious health ailment unattended and uncared for. In such cases, we direct and even accompany them to the closest hospital where the women can receive treatment. These women sometimes need financial aid as well, for which we also help.”
We have medical camps where women receive free treatment. We conducted a one at Falkland road where we met Riya*. She has been suffering from Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) for the past five years. She was also diagnosed with piles and was treated at a private hospital. She had a swollen uterus and had serious bleeding causing pain. Learning of her situation, we counselled Riya on what the
best treatment for her will be and referred her to a private hospital for ayurveda treatment. Riya is now on a three-month medication course. Our staff are continuing to follow up with her.
Many women in the red-light area do not prioritise their health. They always ignore the pain and continue to work because they are all in need of money to get through each day. Conducting awareness and talking through their everyday trauma gives them hope in the midst of their struggle.