The Centre’s radical move to abolish large bank notes has severely affected the business of sex workers in Sonagachi — India’s largest red light district — in West Bengal’s capital Kolkata.
Although prostitution is illegal in India, it is a thriving underground industry. Voluntary groups estimate that there are about two million women sex workers in the country.
Home to almost 11,000 sex workers, women in Sonagachi are finding it difficult to fend for themselves as customers pay them in defunct higher currency notes.
“Our business is not going good as any customer who comes, is paying currency notes of Rs.500 and Rs.1000. We are facing many problems. We are standing in long queues in banks. Our work has been put on halt,” said a sex worker.