At India bank, sex workers earn a little interest and self-esteem: In Mumbai, India, the Sangini bank in the Kamathipura red-light district serves only sex workers, helping them build their worth.
As Sangini sees it, sex workers with even a modest financial buffer are able to refuse clients wanting unprotected sex. And savings build confidence, providing the wherewithal to change professions if they choose.
Often, women will leave their passbooks here so husbands or pimps don’t discover and squander their earnings. Men can deposit but can’t withdraw funds without the woman’s permission, says Diane Cross, the charismatic social worker running the bank.
“If you’re saving, you’re not as desperate and can afford to make better decisions,” she says.
Photo: Sex worker Majda Shaikh, left, makes a deposit at the Sangini bank. Credit: Mark Magnier / Los Angeles Times