“After Your Honor is Gone…”: Exploration of Developmental Trajectories and Life Experiences of Women Working in Mumbai’s Red-Light Brothel Districts

Rochelle L. Dalla, Lee M. Kreimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


This investigation was intended, first, to examine the early life and childhood experiences of adult women working in the red-light districts of Mumbai, India. A corollary to this goal was determination of processes that led to entry into the commercial sex industry (CSI). Second, we sought better understanding of women’s adult relationships with family of origin and key players of the brothel-based sex industry (e.g., peers, clients, brothel-keepers). Finally, we explored exiting options. In other words, to what extent is it possible to leave India’s brothel-based sex industry if one wanted to do so? Guided by the life-course theory of development, in-depth interviews were conducted with 30 women working in two red-light districts of Mumbai, India. Most women described childhoods of extreme poverty, had been trafficked into the CSI, and reported minimal social support as adults. Exiting was challenged by multi-faceted cultural and structural constraints. Implications for continued research are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-186
Number of pages24
JournalSexuality and Culture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2017



  • Brothel
  • Commercial sex industry
  • Human trafficking
  • Life course theory
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies

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