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Winners for People in the News & Portrait Stories: Brothels

By Miguel Candela (

20:02, March 26, 2012

Radical islamists burned the brothel to the ground. Two were badly hurt. The rest were left with nothing. "We lost everything and had to jump onto the river", recalls Hasina. "We even didn’t have clothes to wear and we were forced to live for a month and a half out in in the wild". Nobody was arrested for the attack.

After countless demonstrations , and after media interest was stirred, prostitutes have earned the right to fight for their rights. They don't have to walk barefoot when they leave the brothel anymore, and their bodies can be buried in a cemetery, though still in a separate one. "Society uses us to fulfill their human needs, but treats us like animals", criticizes Ahya Begum, 37, president of the Prostitute Association of Faridpur.

The brothel is a rundown concrete building in rural Bangladesh overrun by rats. Tiny holes in the walls are the only source of natural light and air into the jail-like compound that feels more like some abandoned structure from a horror film than a place for sex.

Society has forced them to live in darkness while men love them and hate them in equal measure, demanding their services while trying to get rid of them permanently.

This is the intolerable contradiction that is their everyday lives.

The 8th China International Press Photo Contest
People in the News & Portrait Stories - Award of Excellence
As younger girls dominate the sex worker industry in Bangladesh, maintaining their youthful looks is the only guarantee the older women keep earning their living.

However, with the world economy taking a downturn, life in these slums has also taken a turn for the worst. Prices go up but salaries stay the same, which means customers spend less. Condoms have become luxuries. Sex workers get younger and younger.

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People in the News & Portrait Stories Winners
Gold Prize - Survivors of Labours during the World War II
Silver Prize - Contestants for the Mayan Queen
Bronze Prize - The Kazak eagle Hunters
Award of Excellence - Chinese Veterans


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