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09.29.2016 - News

India: Breaking the cycle of prostitution

In one of Kolkata’s central red light districts, Terre des hommes is helping its local partner in running activities for neighbourhood children. Their aim is to stop children and young people getting caught up in prostitution.

Living in difficult conditions

For children living in Kolkata’s red light districts, conditions are difficult: up to eight people share a single room,there are communal bathrooms, and hygiene and privacy are virtually inexistent. These young people are surrounded by violence and receive no educational support. In many cases, their mothers work as prostitutes.

Providing support

To provide psychological support to these children, Terre des hommes  supports its partner South Kolkata Hamari Muskan (SKHM) who runs a centre in one such red light area. Our specialists provide training to the social workers who work with the children. The youngest children, aged three years, are welcomed all day long. Older children, up to the age of 18, go there after school.

The centre can host up to 130 children. It offers educational and psychological support, as well as career orientation services. Young people are able to take part in painting, writing, photography, dance, karate or theatre activities. To break the cycle of prostitution, social workers focus on education by attempting to ensure that children start or continue attending school. Those in the most difficult situations receive counselling and therapy.


Photo project made by the children.

Helping parents

The trained social workers also work with parents. Support groups for mothers and fathers are organised where they are given information about the centre so they can encourage their children to go there. Mothers can take part in cooking and jewellery-making lessons, and receive advice on healthcare and hygiene.

©Tdh / Sajana Shrestha