Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries on earth with widespread poverty and inequality. In Bangladesh prostitution is legal but completely unregulated. The country’s largest brothel is called Daulatdia and it’s owned by one of the country’s most powerful and influential families. The brothel is the size of a small town and it’s conveniently located close to one of the main railway stations. This ensures thousands of customers for the over 2,000 sex workers and sex slaves that sell their bodies there every day.
The women that live and work in Daulatdia were either lured there by the promise of work, sold by a family member, or kidnapped and sold as a slave. A beautiful girl can be sold for between $250 to $385. The brokers, or the men in charge of finding girls, lay wait them outside of the garment factories where they work or outside the shrines.
The place is filthy and obviously unsanitary. There’s garbage and human waste running through its narrow alleys. It’s estimated that half of the sex workers at Daulatdia are under the age of 18, some as young as ten.
One young woman describes her experience of being beaten and bitten by some of her customers. Once she was even forced to have sex with ten to twelve men at the same time. She has been living there for close to four years and must remain until she finishes paying off her debt.
Due to the fact that in Bangladesh a fuller body is more desirable, the women are given steroids and told that they are medicine. This allows madames to make under aged girls look over eighteen. These steroids are what farmers commonly use to fatten their calves. They are highly addictive and cause many side effects such as diabetes and kidney failure.
The brothel is busiest in the evening. As the sun goes down, more men start arriving and the ladies begin to apply make up and get ready to meet their clientele. A tour through the main streets reveals a number of small businesses such as tailors, drug stores, beauty shops, and bars that have dance floors and of course drugs. One of the most popular drugs is yaba, a highly addictive mixture of methamphetamines and cocaine.
VICE News correspondent Tania Rashid visited the notorious Bangladeshi brothel and documented to their stories.