A brothel's fight against climate

Shakawat Hossain    

13 November, 2017 21:36 PM

A brothel's fight against climate

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The rapid change in climate has lashed Banishanta, a legally approved brothel in the southern part of the Bangladesh.

The brothel had its golden era during British reign for its geographic location on the bank of Poshur river near the Mongla port.  

Now the location itself became a challenge for the sex workers as the disaster-prone island is being hit by numerous calamities nowadays. 

It was quite challenging for the British predominating Bangladesh for its religious majority to establish a brothel near the Mongla port.

Young girls are considered special on Banishanta Island

However, the government managed to make it visible on the continuous demand of foreign sailors and marine crews in the Mongla port. 

During the startup, Banishanta was very sprightly with mid-night party, live songs, and dances for the surge of domestic and exotic clients of its sex workers.

The sex workers in the Banishanta island had long been struggling with social stigmas and prejudices for adapting prostitution in a Muslim-majority country. 

Although they were isolated from the mainstream community of the southern Bangladesh for decades, Nothing could throw them out from their inhabitants. 

Young girls are considered special on Banishanta Island

But the unfriendly behavior of the climate has come up with severe threats of displacement. 

River erosion washed away more than half a kilometer land on the wombs of the Poshur river where sex workers had been dwelling from the establishment. Rising level of salty water for the reason of climate change has created another threat to the livelihood of the island. 

The state-licensed brothel of Banishanta situated on the bank of the Poshur river, a privately owned stretch-land positioned just behind the area, that made a very limited movement of the prostitutes as they are banned to get access in out of the cathouse. 

Sathi, 55, a sex worker of the Banishanta who had been dwelling in the area since 1980 said: "Water level of Poshur has been increasing in awfully from the beginning of the twenty-first century that forcing us to be relocated every year. But it could not happen when I came here in 1980."

"Many sex workers died in the devastating cyclone of 1991 and rest of them resettled other brothels as most of them lost shelter due to river erosion," she added. 

Young girls are considered special on Banishanta Island

Livelihood in twenty-eight coastal districts of the country is fighting against the impacts of climate for a long like Banishanta.

According to experts, continuous speed up of the climate change is dramatically evaporating traditional livelihood in 28 Coastal districts in the southern Bangladesh. 

Climatic disaster-prone people are being migrated to embrace floating urban life as the environmental sources of livelihood are being shut down. 

Researchers in coastal areas are experiencing severe calamities, they merely had found in their observation even before two decades, like extended rainy season, river erosion, increasing water level, and salinity of drinking water in the coastal livelihood that forcing people to be migrated. 

Dr Mostafa Saroar, professor, Khulna University of Science and Technology (KUET) told the Kalerkantho: "Around 400-millimeter rain has been increased in last 40 years. The water level of the sea is also in around danger line in the southern part of Bangladesh, has come up with huge threats to people and environment."

 Source: Climate Citizen

"River erosion, extended rainy season and salinity of the water might create an evaporation threat to the life in the coastal areas," he added.
Climatic impacts have already hit on the fish and animal's spawning process in the coastal areas, resulting in a dramatic decrease of fish on the net of fishermen. Unseasonal rain and growing of 'Mud Land' on the middle of the river destroying fish's breeding power. 

 Source: Climate Citizen

Dr Mostafa Saroar further told: "Insufficient sources of livelihood in the coastal areas have come up with another challenge for the people, is forcing them to be migrated to the urban areas. It has been created due to unfamiliar climate to the fishes and animals."

"If the world continues producing Carbon Dioxide (Co2) most of the cultivated land and shelter of the southern people will be at high risk of being marooned by upstream water within next ten years as the glacier of the Himalaya is melting fastly," Professor Mostafa Saroar warned. 

Special thanks to MANEL QUIROS. All photos were taken from the photographer's website.