Over 1000 Bangladeshi sex workers evicted from their homes and workspaces with 24 hours notice

By Monday 14 July,2014, almost 1000 Bangladeshi sex workers from the Tangail Kandapara brothel district were evicted from their homes and work spaces as the demolition of the brothel complex, which spanned over 3 acres of land, was undertaken at the behest of an “anti-social activities committee” who threatened to set the complex on fire.

Roji Begum, a house owner within the Kandapara brothel complex described how he and other brothel owners were forced to comply with the demands of the conservative Asamajik Karjiakalap Pratirodh Committee (AKPC), or face the consequences set forth by them.

On July 6, 2014, the AKPC, led by the Imam of the district central mosque, marched through the streets of Tangail, demanding the closure of the brothels. The AKPC submitted a Statement of Intent to the municipal Mayor, Shahidur Rahman Khan Mukhti, who assured the AKPC of his administration’s support for their proposed action against the brothel complex.

With only 1 day’s notice, many of the 1000 evicted sex workers began leaving the complex over the weekend as the brothel complex and houses within it were dismantled by the brothel owners. According to witnesses, the process was overseen by local police, who did nothing to stop the dismantling of the Tangail Kandapara complex.

Local civil society leaders stated that the consequences of such an abrupt eviction of sex workers from their work places and homes would undoubtedly have a negative impact on both the lives of sex workers and the local community.