Calcutta’s Brothel Children

My Friends,
Once in awhile, I’m reminded of my bubble. The bubble I float in across space. The oily mist lets me imagine rainbows. Its composition allows me to glide and not dirty the ‘souls’ of my feet.
Today was one of the days my bubble smacked reality. I watched a documentary by Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski. Their film, Born into Brothels, shines white light on the children born into Calcutta’s red light district. These young children rarely tread on hope. Their feet are too busy cleaning, scouring and hiding behind makeshift curtains – the flimsy sheets separating them from their working mothers. Many young girls will eventually take up their mothers’ occupation, some starting at age eleven. Some will be sold by their fathers.

The bright side of this award-winning film is the “power of art to transform lives.” Ms. Briski, a talented photographer takes several of Calcutta’s children under her wing. They learn that beauty can be found behind a lens. Ms. Briski goes beyond teacher as she dedicates herself to these young lives. She organizes an exhibit of their work in NYC to highlight their desperate situation. Of the children permitted to leave, Ms. Briski manages to secure them places in boarding schools. While some children return to the brothels of Calcutta, others are able to learn of hope and a better life…
CalcuttaThank you. May you hold on dear to your loved ones.
Calcutta Window sketched in the dark while watching documentary. 


13 thoughts on “Calcutta’s Brothel Children

  1. I’ve seen this, and yea, all of a sudden, no matter how grim you think your current situation is, it’s a bed of roses compared to their lives. If you have the stomach, next time you want a slap in the face with a dose of someone else’s reality, watch “Children of the Pyre”. And screen in for yourself first before allowing your children to watch. I feel truly fortunate to be where I am right now.


  2. AnnMarie, I float around in a similar bubble. I suppose most Americans do. While I’m unfamiliar with the documentary, it sounds like it does a good job of shining the light of truth on a terrible, ugly situation in Calcutta. I’m glad to hear that some brave individual (an artist/photographer!) comes into these poor children’s lives and helps to make a difference. Art as a transformative power can never be underestimated. Hope you have a great day. 🙂


    • A bubble is sometimes nice to have, isn’t it. I wish they were real. We could float in and out like Glenda the Good Witch from Oz. She had a nice, big, beautiful bubble 🙂
      My day is coming to a close, my friend.
      My eyes sometimes refuse to allow me to continue. So I promised both left and right equal rest 🙂
      I hope you had a grand day!
      AM 🙂


  3. I just watched that documentary. It brought tears to my eyes since the children were so very sweet. I lived for 19 months in Kunsan, Korea where prostitutes lived and worked. My first wife was a prostitute that I took away from that life. The subject matter touches my heart very deeply. I couldn’t believe that little boy at the end of the film chained to a railing. They’re treated like animals, or worse. What a crazy world we live in where so many people in the states are filthy rich compared to those poor souls in Calcutta. They don’t dream big dreams. 😦 Thanks for sharing their story and God bless that journalist that opened the children’s eyes to a better life.


    • I learn more and more about your amazing life, not just through a lens, but your humble dialogue…
      I had a feeling you might have watched this documentary.
      It’s hard to fathom, the impossible cruelty of humans…
      And yet, some courageously march into the horror with the will to affect positive change…they are nothing short of beautiful…


  4. I can’t stand it. It never stops. I can’t stand the way women are treated in the world. I just can’t. How much we are hated, and that has to be the reason for the violence and lack of respect we receive. What disgusting men, who would have sex with an 11 year old. I hope they get what they deserve in their lives, not when they die, but right now. I can give you details of what I would like to see happen to them but this isn’t that kind of blog. I wish your T-Rex could hunt them down and, like the T in Jurassic Park, swallow them in one bite.


    • Dehumanization of humans isn’t perpetrated by humans – they are less. “They” weren’t raised human by others like them. “Their” situations foster hopelessness which nurtures “their” blind cruelty…the more we grow aware…the more things may change for the better…the good become motivated…


  5. I, too, have seen that documentary, and the contrast between the lives of those children and my own dear granddaughters is heart wrenching. I know that many women in poverty have very few choices, but my heart rails against using these means to feed your children. Thank God for those who put themselves in a position to help children. – Fawn


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