Stories about prostitution

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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Kabira is still crying in Pakistan

While many progressives are fond of extolling Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s lament on the unfulfilled promise of postcoloniality, his evocative poem Subh-i-Azadi (The Dawn of Freedom), in prose, it is actually Saadat Hasan Manto who captures the opportunism and political chicanery which characterised the newly-formed state of Pakistan. In his little-known short story, Dekh Kabira Roya (See, Kabira Cried) published soon after Manto’s reluctant migration to his new country, Manto uses the famous 15th century Sufi poet Bhagat Kabir as a protagonist to presciently satirise the emerging trends of intolerance, orthodoxy and cultural chauvinism in the newly-independent state, which are all too familiar in Pakistan in the 21st century. As such, this fable may also be read today ...

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Manto: A legend untold

You walk into the cinema to learn about the crests and troughs of the life of a legendary and notoriously controversial writer and you come out somehow transformed, armed with the knowledge of what it means to be human, what it feels like to be helpless when you’re at odds, at war with the world. Manto looks unsparingly at a fragile and insecure man who dared to pen his inner most secrets and desires, passions and emotions, and his need to find an outlet to unleash his inner conflagration, the outrageous fire, to confront and to go at war with ...

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The violated rose, sickened by an invisible worm

It was midnight. She had appeared out of nowhere, like her unknown and forgotten birth, and signalled him to stop. He stopped unintentionally.  She was young. Her long hair fell down to her shoulders, blustery and wild, darkened by the bleak night. She was clad in rather revealing clothes, and despite the resisting cold, she was not shivering. He was driving back to his flat after wandering the cold desolate roads of Islamabad, when all of a sudden she emerged from the dark hedge along the pavement opposite to Islamabad club. “Sahab, want company?” she inquired charmingly. He was engrossed. “Yes,” he replied indecisively. “Do ...

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Is the Human Trafficking Ordinance just another failed statute in Pakistan?

The situation of human rights in Pakistan as recorded by international rights organisations, bodies and agencies has always been grave and continues to exacerbate. In similar news, Pakistan is on the Tier 2 Watch List of the US State Department’s Trafficking in Person report for a second consecutive year. The countries whose governments fail to comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards are placed on a tier, which is a clear indicator that there is apparently no political will to curb the menace of human trafficking. According to International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) trafficking records, the profits from forced labour are estimated to be in the ...

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For love of the printed word

In the summer of 2010, a colleague brought a new newspaper to work. The workplace had a number of publications coming in but this one made an immediate impact. The type face was bold, the pictures vibrant with colour and the stories were fresh. It was sassy without being saucy and with enough hard hitting content to make me read it cover to cover in one go. The newspaper was The Express Tribune (ET) and fast becoming the young reader’s choice. The reasons were obvious. Compared to the staid fare ladled out by competing newspapers, The Express Tribune was talking about issues prevalent but ...

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India walking the talk with their first transgender news anchor

It is prime time bulletin on Lotus News, a satellite news channel in southern Indian town, Coimbatore. Dressed in a dark brown silk sari, 31-year-old Padmini Prakash is all set to read out the day’s headlines. In matching brown lipstick, vermilion in the parting of her hairline and a bunch of white jasmine tucked in her black curls, Padmini sports a professional charm. Her Tamil pronunciation is clear. Her intonation is perfectly timed. In less than two months, Padmini has become one of the most popular news anchors of the television channel.   But it wasn’t an easy journey for ...

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Series 1: “Dreams of Lunacy” Part 4 Identity

“I’m going for a sleepover at Salman’s house.” “What?” “Sleepover, ammi.” “Now? At mid-night?” she exclaimed. “Jee, everyone is getting together right now, please, midterms just ended today.” “Okay, but this is never happening again,” she said, as she shook her head. Ghaffar gave her a hug, and got the keys from Zameer, who was awake, watching a Bollywood movie in the servant quarters. He headed towards his Corolla and was soon on the road. There was no sleepover. He just wanted some time for himself and what better than a drive around Lahore, with nowhere to reach and no one to check upon him. He opened the ...

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“I was raped hundreds of times, by the man I was married to”

That phase of her life ended three years ago with her divorce, but 35-year-old Naila* will never be healed of what she went through during the nine years of her marriage. This is a true story; the true story of a woman who suffered a plight faced by so many women. Sadly, the crime committed against them is not even considered a crime. “Every time my husband approached me, it was sheer torture. Sometimes physical, and forever mental and emotional torture. He was physically brutal and wanted me to indulge in behaviour I was not okay with. He never cared about ...

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Red

This piece is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The air smelled of rich extravagance as her heart pounded in her chest and banged away like a hammer. Her eyes, heavy with kajal, glanced sideways as the butler came towards her to escort her upstairs. She smiled, stood up, hoping nobody would notice her trembling fingers, and walked upstairs. Unconsciously, her fingers rose to her lips and she started biting her finger nails to calm her nerves. The butler was moving ahead of her and she had to take long strides to keep up with him, while her ...

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