Knowing a little more about Kamathipura
Kamathipura is an old and famously known red-light area located at Grant Road (East). The name was given due to ‘Kamathis’ (Workers) of Andhra Pradesh. Kamathipura was formerly called ‘Lal Bazar’ during the time of the British government for being the oldest prostitutes’ area in south Mumbai since 1795. There is a total of 1 to 14 lanes in Kamathipura and these lanes have brothels in them. The brothels seemed to have the characteristic of being completely opaque at street level but there isn’t proper ventilation and the areas are very congested inside building. Now-a-days, it is more like a commercial business with a high need for interventions by NGOs and the Government, for improving the lives of sex workers.
Mumbai Smiles Foundation has established a community center at Kamathipura where basic counselling and Art therapy such as Candle making, referral services are provided. Such activities are helpful in order to relieve them from mental stress, giving them an opportunity to express their feeling and simultaneously act as a skill development activity. The objective of Mumbai Smiles is to improve the living conditions among sex workers from the red-light areas of Mumbai and to enhance their mental health condition along with that of their children, with a special focus on victims of human trafficking. Mumbai Smiles also has a Preschool Education center at Khetwadi specially developed to cater to the children of victims of human trafficking.
Since the community center was established at Kamathipura, Mumbai Smiles has conducted 11 psychosocial workshops to identify and help victims of human trafficking suffering from mental disorders with a need for psychological counselling and support. There were a total of 20 cases of mental disorders registered in our center, 17 being women and 3 boys who were the children of victims of human trafficking. A 3-year-old girl child was rescued from a brothel at Pune. Mumbai Smiles’ focus is to lend a helping hand through rehabilitation and guide them to live a dignified life.