Stories about prostitution

Easy way out: Stop blaming drugs, porn for Kasur’s child abuse cases and address the real reasons

Kasur, a city with a population of 3,454,996, has seen rising incidences of sexual violence, including child sexual abuse. This city has seen 700 cases of child sexual abuse in the last three years. Faces of little Zainab Ansari and the victims of the series of child sexual abuse scandal that involved at least 280 boys are still fresh in mind. The federal Ombudsman recently brushed many reasons under the carpet by using common buzzwords and only blamed drugs, pornography and prostitution for the increase in sexual violence against children. My contention is that the Ombudsman has taken an extremely narrow approach in understanding a complex, ...

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My only escape

April 2018 I am an old woman, almost 75-years-old. My bones are weak, my skin is wrinkled, and my hair is a mane of silver. A pile of medicines cover the top of my bedside table. Most days, I don’t feel like eating them. Death weaves itself around me. I see it everywhere – in fallen leaves, in the rain, in the shadows, in people. My time here is almost done, but there’s a task still unfulfilled. Before I close my eyes forever, I have to tell my daughter the truth about my life, and her life. I’ve kept it hidden ...

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Pixie Palace was her jail, and she was carrying a new prisoner

The white tombs that encircled the humble city of Kalazar were silent. Every single inhabitant was quiet. The leaves on the wych elms resisted the wind. And under the blue sky, a sparsely dressed ‘pixie’ wandered. She had been wandering for a long, long time; as long as her sane memory stretched. Unbeknownst to her, a little heart beat inside her womb, calling for attention. It was a faint, unwanted beat. The superior would have had her publicly shamed for renouncing the blessed beat. But how could they know? They had never wandered the white tombs, had never traded honour for ...

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Pakistani dramas are romanticising rape and brothels but saying the word “talaaq” is the real problem?

Since our movie industry is still in its revival stage, Pakistani dramas have been at the core of our entertainment business. Whether they are our classics like Ankahi and Tanhaiyaan, which to date are fondly remembered, or the dramas loved by the masses in recent years, such as Humsafar and Yaqeen Ka Safar. However, as much as we love our dramas, there are plenty of subgenres that cause sheer cringe moments when viewed on national television. Recently, Malik Taimoor, a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA from Rawalpindi, submitted a resolution to the Punjab Assembly. He believes the word ‘talaaq’ (divorce) is ...

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When charitable organisations don’t believe in only giving anymore and barter sex for food

This year is definitely a year for women. At the start of 2018, the careers of Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes (now deceased), Bill O’Reilly, Bill Cosby and Kevin Spacey (although the allegations were from men) decimated due to sexual assault allegations. It seems the propensity for women to come forward and report indecent behaviour by powerful men is now on the rise.  Now it seems every faucet of life, from sporting events and Larry Nassar’s incarceration, to Hollywood and now the world of charities and NGOs, is slowly turning on. Recently, atrocious allegations were revealed by news outlets of the use of prostitutes by ...

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India’s contract marriages: When Sheikhs marry, rape and divorce child brides, all in one week

Poverty is not a crime, but it surely is a curse for docile Muslim girls in the poverty-driven city of Hyderabad, India. Why, you ask? Because young girls from impoverished families are forced to marry ageing and rich men. Since the 90s, Hyderabad has been a hunting ground for the rich philanderers from oil-rich countries to seek young and virgin brides. Over the years, numerous unfortunate stories of teenaged brides wedded to ageing Arabs have unfolded at regular intervals. Recently, 20 people were arrested in a major crackdown against a ‘Sheikh marriage’ racket, which hints towards a much greater issue. Amidst poor living conditions and rising ...

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We’re celebrating Pakistan’s Independence Day, but are we really independent?

On August 11, 1947, a newly-formed Pakistan held its first parliamentary session. The purpose was to draft a constitution. During this session, Pakistan’s founding father Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah famously reaffirmed the pluralistic values the new nation had been founding declaring: “You are free, you are free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or any other place of worship in the state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” This year will mark the nation’s 69th year ...

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I was on a bus in Karachi when a “helpful” lady tried to steal my belongings

Standing alone in a bus makes you feel like a lone ranger. A lone ranger surrounded by Hannibal’s brutal army. It frightens you to the core and you want the crowd to disperse as soon as possible. As a daily commuter, I’m used to travelling in packed buses in Karachi. On one of these days, I was waiting for a passenger to get off so I could take their seat. But unfortunately, I missed the opportunity of grabbing the seat as two other female passengers, tall and broad in built, were standing on either side of the seats, ready to sit down. It seemed ...

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“The dirtiest sewer, starvation or even death would’ve been preferred over working for these pimps”

Human trafficking, prostitution, drug making/buying/selling have now become universal social issues. Each year 1.2 million children are trafficked around the world, 100,000 children are forced into prostitution and moved from one street corner to the other and numerous children are lured into the emerging drug business. During a conversation I had with Amal*, a human trafficking victim, I was left appalled by the details she provided me with. Amal was kidnapped at the tender age of 13 from the factory near her village. She described the incident in the following words; “It wasn’t like they show it in the movies, there was neither chaos nor any noise. Someone ...

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The Tribe: No words to express its brilliance

No words, no music, no subtitles. The Tribe is a Ukrainian film which takes place in a specialised boarding school for the deaf. Sergey, the new student, is quickly inducted into a student gang partaking in crime and prostitution. After a series of horrendous events, Sergey falls in love with one of the student prostitutes and breaks one of the unspoken rules of obeying the hierarchy of the Tribe. The film is absolutely brutal in its depiction of violence and abuse. Without the use of dialogues or subtitles, the emotions and motivations of the characters appear utterly truthful and in some ...

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