Kamathipura, the infamous red-light area, is a densely packed slum in the heart of Mumbai
. It is one of the oldest and largest red-light districts in the whole of Asia. Kamathipura is bounded by Boman Bhram Road on the north and Grant Road on the south.
Kamathipura derives its name after ‘Kamathis’, a group of workers from Andhra Pradesh who came over to the city from 1795 onwards and made the flat areas rendered livable by the construction of the Hornby Vellard and the Bellasis Road their home. By the end of 19th century, the region was transformed into the city’s main red light area.
Kamathipura epitomizes the shady side of thriving flesh trade and child prostitution that is going on in the otherwise industrious and bustling commercial capital of India. Young girls from various Indian states and also from Nepal and Bangladesh, who were clandestinely brought across the border and forced in to sexual exploitation, form a good chunk of these prostitutes. The brothels here are mostly small and cluttered rooms over crowded with beds, sometimes separated by curtains only. Many of these hapless women live on the pavements in huts made of scrap wood and black plastic along with their children, constantly exposed to the fury of nature.
With the threat of AIDS looming large, these ill-fated women and children who are into the world's oldest profession have nowhere else to go but wait for the inevitable end.
Mumbai Central Railway Station is a kilometer north of Kamathipura.