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Bhairavi: The Wrath Of Human Trafficking And Apathy To Sex Workers

Terror and Awe-inspiring, fierce and compassionate.

This picture story is about a 14-year-old girl who falls victim to human trafficking, as she is forced to become a sex worker at GB Road. It is titled Bhairavi, the fifth Goddess of Mahavidyas, meaning “terror” or “awe-inspiring” at the same time. She is believed to be the epitome of all proportions of a strong woman- fierce and compassionate. She is believed to be known as Shubhamkari, which means that she is the doer of auspicious deeds to her devotees who are her children, hence also, a good mother. Favoring violence, punishment, and bloodshed to those who are irreligious and cruel, she is also the Mother of all violence to them. She is said to be seen as violent and terrible but is a benign Mother to her children.

We hope that this picture story shot and written in form of poetry, enlightens and shifts your focus to how women and their children struggle in red light areas, as they are forced into this profession, which is so looked down upon in the society. The inspiration is driven from Kat Katha, an NGO which has been tirelessly working to empower the sex workers of GB road, and providing opportunities to their kids, giving them wings to fly!

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I was 14 when I fell first in love,
From Rampur to Dilli, I ran to keep him above.
My aspirations, my family and my village,
In front of love, everything shifts under the foliage.
Holding the hand, I trusted with my whole,
Hell broke loose when he handed the same to a woman unknown.

Dragging and pushing me to a dark world,
Semen smell, and condoms the 14-year-old had, earlier never heard.
Red light pierced through my eyes in the stinky decoration,
When a Didi forced some on my face, all in fashion.

I kept banging the door of the coffin-sized room,
When a man with a big belly broke my isolation soon.
I yelled to him for help,
Joined hands to take me to my father’s land, with a yelp.
He held my hand, I thought to aid,
But what he did next was enough for me to hate.

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For the first time, I felt the pain between my legs,
As he pushed and pushed and pushed with all unheard negs.
He touched me everywhere and it felt like an itch,
And said that my breasts weren’t that rich.
It seemed like a big bad dream,
As he covered my mouth to suppress the scream.

My soul was set on fire,
As my body enveloped within his arms like tight wire.
I didn’t understand what was going on,
But that touch was full of filth and scorn.
Papa always touched me as if I was a Barbie doll,
But this man treated me as a bouncing ball.

He turned red enjoying inflicting the pain in me,
But Papa always said to be good to everyone is what you should be.
He sprinkled something in white,
And smirked in pleasure with a sense of pride.
Pushing me as I tripped over the bed,
Leaving me naked with no words said.


I gathered some clothes to cover my half-dead body,
A bleeding vagina, swollen eyes and a nose too snotty.
He left the room abusing me with a word or two,
And I gathered the courage to touch the part never ever touched by anyone or so.
With anguished and dried tears, did I try cleaning my vagina,
But the pain was excruciating as if preyed by a Hyena.

A woman entered my room,
I missed Ma, whom I would find some space in days of gloom.
She slapped me so hard,
Dropping me to the floor unguard.
Didi as she would be called,
Held my jaw in her hands, as she growled.
“10 minutes-Get ready for next customer,” she said,
“Don’t forget the makeup, you little witch with lips-red.”

I had hardly gathered my inevitable pieces together,
When another man came in, and then another, and another.
Each part of my soul gets sold as I stand outside in the lobby,
To act attractive and sniffy has become my hobby.

The State doesn’t give me an identity,
Aadhar doesn’t carry the damned address of my fraternity.
Slut, pimp, cunt they call me now,
My profession itself has become a curse somehow.

It never stopped in the coffin-sized room,
As I turn 34 today, with a girl who might bleed for the first time soon.
My girl is 14 now, and I don’t want her to go through the same pain,
But get an education which would never go in vain.

I was 14 when it first happened to me,
I don’t wish to be set free.
Daily it seems like a bad dream,
But now, that I no more scream.

In frame: Simran Kapoor(as Bhairavi), Arushi Rana (as Didi and the man)
Photographer: Anubhav Goyal

About the Creative team:

Simran Kapoor is a Kathak dancer and a poet who wishes to empower sex workers, rape victims, acid attack victims, and women prone to domestic violence through self-employment one day. She also dreams of portraying their stories through an annual dance drama, “Chiraiya”, as a fundraiser for her mother’s NGO, Manas Welfare Society, which gives employment to women of underprivileged areas, selling pickles, with profits going to sponsor girl education. She is presently preparing for civil services, after graduating from Miranda House.

Anubhav Goyal is a fourth year BTech student at Shiv Nadar University and a passionate photographer, whose captures are aptly described in his life state of “In Love, with Places, I haven’t Visited and People I haven’t Met!” He has done Portrait and Travel Photography for a few years now and wishes to tell stories of life, moments, people through pictures. After engineering, he wishes to complete his masters in Business and start his own photography venture.
They have both come up with a photo story revolving around the apathy met out to sex workers in India and Bangladesh.

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