MICHAEL GLAWOGGER Biography | Comments

BANGLADESH

CITY OF JOY
Prostitution was legalized in 2000 in Faridpur (governed by Islamic law). The economy in Faridpur is almost entirely dependent on prostitution and hotels. Faridpur's "City of Joy" is a huge, multi-story brothel where 600-800 prostitutes live and work in confined spaces. In Bangladesh, there are higher and lower level establishments, but it would be very hard for a Western eye to detect the difference. I can after having spent many months researching various places there. But they are all ghetto compounds. They are places where the girls work and live, and are sometimes even born there. They are usually sold to those places. They eventually become "mothers" - and then they buy their own girls, get old and die. Up until a decade ago, they were not allowed to go outside. They were not even allowed to wear shoes so that everybody could recognize them as prostitutes.

A FUNCTIONING SOCIAL STRUCTURE
Regardless of age, girls must start working when they get their first menstrual period. There is of course a law in Bangladesh against underage prostitution, but in compounds like the one seen in WHORES' GLORY, a girl's working age has been decided that way for more than a century. It is very hard to get it out of the mothers' heads that this shouldn't be. For them, a girl is a woman old enough as soon as she has her first period. In these ghettos, a woman usually works until she is 35-40. She is expected to save enough money to buy her own girls and become a madam. If she doesn't do that, then she will struggle as an older prostitute and eventually become a cook or maid in the ghetto at age 55-60. The aged are not expelled from the functioning social structure. The elderly will at least get food and a mat to sleep on.

SOLD BY ANYBODY
Girls in Bangladesh can be sold by pretty much anybody. There are scouts at bus stations in every city looking for lost or unaccompanied young girls. They pretend to help them, then sell them. Any man can sell his girlfriend, especially if he has had pre-martial sex with her. Women usually sell the stepdaughters as soon as they have the chance. But for a mother it is still better to have her own daughter inside the brothel, and then she doesn't have to buy one. They sometimes make the effort to educate their daughters outside to become part of society, but if money runs low, they call them back inside.

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