Mumbai is the capital city of Maharashtra. Also known as Bombay (its official name until the year 1995), this metropolis is set at the opening of the Ulhas River, on a peninsula in western India. As per census 2011, the city district covers an area of 157 square kilometres and serves as home to 12.5 million people. India used to be a colony of Portugal and the United Kingdom, but after it gained independence in 1947, Mumbai emerged as a key financial and entertainment hub. Today, it is an economic powerhouse and India’s most cosmopolitan city.
History of the RLD
Kamathipura is the oldest prostitution area in Mumbai, particularly in the city’s southern section. Formerly known as Lal Bazaar, its name was derived from the Kamathis (labourers) of Telangana state, who were workers at construction sites. The existence of the sex trade had been documented as early as 1795 when India was still under British control. At that time the dark and narrow alleys and bye-lanes were lined up with bungalows and small buildings that served as brothels. Foreign tourists and British troops visited these so-called ‘sex trade bazaars’ and the area was as an entertainment district for them.
In 1992, the Bombay Municipal Corporation recorded around 50,000 sex workers, but the number was drastically reduced to 1,600 in 2009 because of the frequent raids conducted by the Mumbai police. The crackdown was prompted by the rise of AIDS and the city administration’s redevelopment policy that helped prostitutes to move out of the profession and ultimately out of Kamathipura.
How to Find the RLD
Kamathipura is located on a prime land along Grant Road, near the southern portion of Mumbai. It’s about a 10-minute walk from the Mumbai Central Railway Station. But for those coming from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, the fastest and most convenient way to reach the RLD is to hire a cab.
Stay Safe in the RLD
If you intend to visit Kamathipura, make sure you do a little research so you get to know the area before even setting foot there. This will help you avoid any untoward incidents. The RLD is known to have a relatively high crime rate so be always on guard and refrain from going alone and strolling the streets, especially at night. Be smart when availing adult services, otherwise, you may end up a victim of various scams and fraudulent activities that often occur under the guise of the city’s adult entertainment industry. Also, bear in mind that roughly 50% of the sex workers in Mumbai are suffering from HIV. The use of condom and other methods of having safe sex is a must.
People in the financial centre of India are always on the go and maintain a hectic schedule. They deserve some form of relaxation and ‘private’ time, and that’s precisely the reason why the adult entertainment industry is booming in the city. You will find the typical venues like brothels, sex shops, strip clubs, swinger clubs, and erotic massage parlours. However, escort agencies have increasingly become in demand because of most feature women from various nationalities, thereby ensuring that all clients’ needs are catered for. The agencies provide perfect personalized entertainment, fun, and pleasure. Whatever makes a man happy, the escorts make it happen.
There are a lot of street whores in Kamathipura and there are also pick joints along Juhu Tara Road, which is equally popular for prostitution. If you roam the streets late at night, you’ll also find hookers in Andheri West and at the JVLR Junction-Jogeshwari East.
Falkland Road is known for its old wooden buildings where prostitutes stand behind cage-like structures, giving the area its nickname, “The Cages”. Above the cages on the ground floor, the wooden structures rise three to four stories, with more girls behind barred windows.
There are only a few swinger clubs in Mumbai, and they only maintain an online presence. You need to search for websites with relevant details and contact info. You can, therefore, get in touch with someone concerned so you can attend swinger parties at private clubs during weekends.
Prostitution has limited legality in Mumbai, which means it is only legal under certain conditions. It is not considered a criminal offense, but soliciting the services of a sex worker and prostitution in public places is illegal. The law prohibits prostitutes from carrying on their job within 200 yards of a public place. Other contraventions of the law include pimping, kerb crawling, pandering, and owning or managing a brothel.
The primary law that deals with the status of prostitutes is the 1956 legislation known as the Immoral Traffic Suppression Act. It states that sex workers can privately practice their profession but cannot legally solicit clients in public. As long as sexual services are done individually and voluntarily, a prostitute can use her body in exchange for material benefit.
In 1986, the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act was passed as an amendment to the Immoral Traffic Suppression Act. Based on this law, prostitutes can be arrested for soliciting their services and they are not permitted to make their phone numbers public. Violators face financial penalties and can be imprisoned for a maximum of 6 months.
Clients who avail the services of prostitutes within 200 yards of a designated area will need to pay fines and can be jailed for a maximum of 3 months. A person who indulges in paid sexual activities with someone under 18 years old can be imprisoned between 7 and 10 years. Pimps can face imprisonment between 2 and 4 years.
People who operate and manage brothels are liable to prosecution as well. For the first offense, they will be jailed for a maximum of 3 years. If they forcibly keep a woman in their brothel to work as a prostitute or exploit her for sexual purposes, they can be imprisoned for a minimum of 7 years.
As for gays, they face legal difficulties not experienced by straight individuals. Sexual activity between two males is illegal and is punishable by incarceration. However, enforcement is rare and while arrests have been made under anti-homosexuality laws, no one is known to have been convicted of homosexuality.
There is no shortage of nightclubs, bars, and pubs in Mumbai. A whole new metropolis awakens after the sun sets as tourists from across the globe spend some time at the various venues. A lot of local and world-renowned bands, DJs, and celebrities visit the city and perform. Note, however, that the state government has banned dance bars throughout Maharashtra. This means all bars you’ll see on the streets are only for hardcore drinkers (all male). Females and party goers who wish to dance the night away are advised to head to the luxury hotels. For those who prefer a more downcast experience, there’s the typical “cinema” night out with friends and family who wish to see the latest Hollywood or Bollywood movies on the big screen.
While it only has an embryonic gay scene, Mumbai is regarded as the most accepting Indian city, with openly gay TV stars and Bollywood celebrities. There are also plenty of socially connected people with lots of gay and lesbian friends. Mumbai’s rich diversity has allowed for the emergence of a thriving LGBT community that is supported both politically and socially.
General Attitude Towards Gays
Homophobic attitudes no longer exist in metropolitan areas like Mumbai. The city is in fact considered by many as the gay capital of India. You won’t sense any animosity towards gays so don’t be surprised to see males holding hands on the streets. Authorities generally tolerate gay events, but many of the gay hotspots are not advertised or published so do some research before visiting the city. Voodoo, Gay Bombay, Salvation Star, and The Birdcage are all sites of superb gay parties. Gay gatherings also take place spontaneously along the beaches, especially if you visit in late August or early September.
Most of the transgenders live in brothels and do their sex work in the 1st Lane of Kamathipura. Normally, each brothel houses a family and the Guru serves as the owner and leader of every tranny living and working in it. Other transgenders engaged in the sex trade live in groups or with their Guru in private residences in the suburban areas of Mumbai.