Volume 76, Number 46 | April 11 - 17, 2007

Villager photos by Q. Sakamaki

Too young in oldest profession

East Village photographer Q. Sakamaki was in Bangladesh last year, where he documented one of the country’s biggest industries, prostitution. Prostitution is illegal under Bangladesh’s constitution, but anyone can become a sex worker by making an affidavit with a first-class magistrate’s court or notary public that she is above age 18. As a result, many sex workers are children, victims of human trafficking or with no choice because they were born in brothels.

Due to poor safe-sex education, many have H.I.V., especially those working in the streets or poor residential areas. This page, clockwise from above: In Dhaka, Rotina, a 15-year-old sex worker with H.I.V. She doesn’t fully comprehend what H.I.V./AIDS is, and neither do her clients; in Doulabdia, Parvin, 18, born and raised in a brothel; at the pier in Bani Shanta, a prostitution village, sex workers await customers coming by boat. Opposite page, clockwise from top: A child sex worker; a mother and daughter in a brothel; in Bani Shanta, a sex worker hanging out with a favorite customer. (Sakamaki washed some of the color out of these photos, feeling the vivid Bangladeshi color palette was too busy.)

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