Several hundred sex workers at Kandapara red-light quarter in Tangail town have been passing their days in hunger as punters stopped coming due to the lockdown imposed by the government for curbing coronavirus spread.
Around 600 sex workers and their dependents are suffering from hunger at 60 houses at the 200-year-old brothel situated on three acres of land.
Several sex workers at the brothel said they have been passing hard days since the outbreak of coronavirus last year.
Many of them had to live hungry as the visits of punters decreased due to the lockdown.
In this situation, a number of the sex workers have already left the area while many others are living on by borrowing money from others, including moneylenders.
"My life has turned worse as punters could not come to visit us due to the lockdown. I am living in empty stomach due not having any income. Now, I am living by borrowing money from others," told Kanta (not her original name), a sex worker.
A sex worker said she has been living at the brothel for over a decade. Previously she earned Tk 1000 to Tk 1500 in a day. But her earnings dropped after the outbreak of the coronavirus. Her income, however, completely ceased after the lockdown was imposed.
"However, I have to give the house rent, feed my child and also send money for my parents. Then, think, how I am living," she said.
The condition of almost the all brothel inmates and their dependents is the same, sources said.
Aklima Akter, president of the sex workers organisation Nari Mukti Sangha, said the brothel inmates have been living a very inhuman life since the beginning of the outbreak of coronavirus last year. Some of them are working at the house of the solvent sex workers for foods and other needs.
Being informed of the hardship of the brothel inmates, Dr Ataul Gani, deputy commissioner in Tangail, went to on Sunday and distributed food items among 550 sex workers as gift from the prime minister. The food items include 10 kilograms of rice, one kilogram of lentil, oil, sugar, salt, onion, gram (chhola) and two kilograms of potato.
The DC on Sunday also handed over Tk 500 cash to each of 120 children of the sex workers for buying their Eid dress in association with Tangail Ladies Club, a club of the wives of the government officers working in the district.
The brothel inmates, however, urged the administration that the government supports continue until the crisis ends.
The DC, in his speech, said they are extending food supports to the people who have been passing hand to mouth during the pandemic as gift from the prime minister. As part of this, the inmates of the brothel were provided the supports and more supports will be provided to them, he said.
"The Prime Minister has already sent supports (TR, KABIKHA) of Tk 130 crore for the people of the Tangail. The supports will be reached to around seven lakh poor people in the district before the Eid," he added.