A departmental store managed by sex workers at Sonagachhi

Continuing its activities at Sonagachhi, India’s largest red light area, Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) has put up a departmental store for sex workers at the ground floor of the building which houses the NGO office in the north Kolkata neighborhood.

The shop, named Usha Consumer Store was inaugurated on June 21 with the help of West Bengal state government’s cooperative department. It was the occasion of the silver jubilee celebration of Usha Cooperative Society. Present at the occasion was the state’s registrar of the society of cooperative society, Nirmalya Ghosh. The shop would be open every day from 11 am to 6 pm. Commodities of everyday use would be available in the store at a price lower than the market price.

It also offers a home delivery service as well. At particular days of the week, in line with other departmental stores, there will also be offers and discounts here.  

A senior member of Durbar said that not only commodities would be available at a price lower than the MRP, but the store would be run and managed by sex workers and their children.

The shop would however not restrict to catering to sex workers only but residents of adjoining areas would also be benefitted out of the departmental store.

In the few days that it had been functioning, the store has already created a stir among sex workers of Sonagachhi. “It was long due in this area and we are happy that we have our own consumer goods store in this area. It will make life smoother for us,” said a 30-plus resident of this place.

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