Women stand on the terrace of a brothel on G.B. Road | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Women on the terrace of a brothel on G.B. Road, a major red-light area in Delhi (representational image) | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
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New Delhi: The usually busy stretch from Ajmeri Gate to Lahori Gate in New Delhi, known as G.B. Road, is now mostly empty, with only a few women waiting outside their homes to get rations. This is the red-light area of national capital and is one of the most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

There are currently more than 1,200 sex workers on G.B. Road. After the lockdown, many women left for their villages, but some couldn’t manage to leave. One woman, who hails from Tamil Nadu, said she wanted to go back to her home. With no buses or trains available, walking remains her only option. “Ek saal lag jayega ghar pahunchne mein agar paidal gaye toh (It would take me a year to reach home if I walked),” she said, adding she wouldn’t take the long walk back.

For sex workers, these times are more difficult than fighting the invisible virus from a health perspective. The pandemic affects their very livelihood, considering the nature of their job. “The impact of the lockdown will be seen in this area for a long time, even if Covid is gone,” said one women.

There is no help from the government, so sex workers depend mostly on NGOs for essentials. The women emerge from their houses one by one to take their share of rations, which, they told ThePrint, are limited.

ThePrint’s photojournalist Manisha Mondal walked down G.B. Road to capture a glimpse of these women’s lives now.

A women does some chores in a room where there are photographs of gods from different religion | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
A woman does her household chores. Most days are spent managing the home and worrying about the future | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
A woman carries ration to the third floor | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
With no income due to the lockdown, the women rely mostly on NGOs to get rations | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
After bringing ration to the third floor, a woman rests | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
A woman rests on the floor after carrying her rations up to the third floor. As it is for many people across the country, the lockdown has offered these women some downtime. However, the impact on their livelihood has been severe | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
The empty hallways inside one of the houses | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
The hallways inside one of the brothels are empty, have been for weeks, and are expected to remain so in the near future | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
A woman stands outide her home in the empty alley | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
A woman stands outside her home in an empty alley. Sex workers inside the houses did not wish to be photographed | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
After hours of persuasion women were ready to get there picture clicked | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Women here say that in the initial days, they did clap for the frontline workers and light candles in balconies, but now they are just waiting for things to normalise so they can start earning again | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
The women say that for next four-five months they would not have any customers | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
The women expect the next four-five months to be tough with no customers seeking their services due to Covid-19 | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

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