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He took his camera to a village where prostitution is a way of life. Here's what he found.

What happens when a place is left to become an unchecked prostitution economy? One writer, Souvid Datta, spent nine days there to scratch the surface of that question. After seeing what you're about to see, you may be moved to share. The more people talking about these injustices, the better.

By Souvid Datta | Kolkata, India, 2014


Sonagachi is an area located in North Kolkata, India.

Narrow alleys, enclosed by towering, decayed brothels and bright market stalls form together in a confusing, colourful maze.

This is the home of Asia's second largest red-light district.

The neighbourhood exists as a sprawling, illegal network of organised gangs, traffickers and victims: a place where reporters and outsiders are threatened away by violence, politicians and police are bribed or complicit, and an estimated 12,000 prostituted women, often under the age of 18, are effectively raped everyday for £1.

Lalka*, 25, in her room with a client in Sonagachi. Having been trafficked at the age of 16, Lalka suffered years of violent customers and then an abusive marriage with a local gang enforcer who works in her brothel. They are still together now, though she is desperately looking for a safe way out of the relationship. (*name changed)

Over the past 30 years the district has grown in the shadows, being left to fester. State and private initiatives have failed to tackle groups of petty criminals who now control territorial authority and resources. And a growing cultural stigmatization of those involved has bred disinterest and fostered exploitation. Today, younger and younger victims of trafficking come from further afar.

Sonagachi itself thrives off a self-perpetuating, city-wide mentality of hypocrisy, crime and ignorance. It is a word not used in public; a pit that many profit from, yet one that most, including the local media, seem to turn a blind eye to.

Abroad, it continues to be largely unknown.

The first step is challenging ignorance.

Broadcasting the reality of the situation on the ground can inspire constructive awareness and empathy.

Radhika, 17, and her friends look out from a caged window of a brothel in Sonagachi while getting ready for the evening rush. While many in the area have 'earned' the independence to work on personal basis, all newly trafficked women and youngsters are kept on firm lock and key, forced to stay within the prison-like, dire conditions of brothel walls.

This year I gained access to Sonagachi for 9 days.

I spent time with prostituted women as young as 14 who had been kidnapped on their way to school from border states. Their resilience, grace and collective enterprise astounded me; and at night, within dark, caged brothel cells, I heard their cries for hours.

Outside, police officials embraced gang-leaders and were offered their pick.

Radhika, 17, in the room of a veteran sex worker, Asma, in Sonagachi (seen dressing in background). The two have grown close over Radhika's period here; she respects and learns from Asma's experience and matter of fact, survival attitude, while Asma feels a fondness for Radhika's unfettered 'kindness and curiosity'. Strong bonds can often form within brothels as girls learn to support each other and find self-empowerment through group assertion and collective experience.

A serious, in-depth multimedia report will give voice to thousands of young women who have been systematically stripped of human choice and expression. It will inform topical debates in India today on sexual inequality, graft and development. And perhaps most importantly, it might provoke ordinary people to sit back callously no longer, but begin contributing to a process of improvement.

The Matter Fellowship will give me the resources and time I need to document the reality of Sonagachi both honestly and compellingly, from rights abuses and state failure to urgent human stories.

Radhika in her evening wear awaiting clients on the foot of her brothel in Sonagachi.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


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This article originally appeared on July 2, 2019


Sadly, a lot of men go out of their way to avoid learning anything about a woman's period.

(That could be why throughout most of the United States — where the majority of lawmakers are men — feminine hygiene products are subject to sales tax.)

So we should give some love to the guys who make an effort to learn a bit about the menstrual cycle so they can help their family members when they're in desperate need of feminine hygiene products.

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