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Beauty is an immeasurable entity every girl possesses, and to what extent she would like to maintain or enhance it depends on how she sees herself. Every community has its secrets, the bad and good alike. For instance, the Bangladeshi Brothel workers consume steroids used to fatten cows on a daily basis in order to look healthier and more attractive.
Andrew Biraj of Reuters reported that around 900 prostitutes, some of which are teenagers, are forced to take the steroid “Oradexon”, also known as “Dexamethasone” by their madams or “sardarnis”, to increase their weight and improve their appearance. Despite health risks, such as liver damage, skin rashes, and high blood pressure, sex workers do not regret consuming Oradexon.
“I don’t worry about the health risks because I have a son. I take Oradexon, and I have good customers, and I have made quite a good future for my son. If I die because of taking Oradexon, I won’t have any remorse because my son is all set,” Ranu, a brothel worker, said.
According to BBC News, most sex workers, called “chukris”, join the brothel unwillingly; they have either been kidnapped or sold by their poor families. Chukris usually start work at an average age of 14, where they can deal with up to 15 clients per day with rates as little as 50 taka (60 U.S. cents), according to Reuters.
The steroid Oradexon is an over-the-counter drug used by humans to cure inflammation and allergies and by farmers to fatten their cattle. The drug is readily available and sold for 15 taka (18 U.S. cents). The charity ActionAid has been running awareness campaigns against the drug since 2010. However, without the government’s support, they fear that it will not be able to have a major impact.
Once women become sex workers and start working at brothels, they are viewed as social outcasts and an embarrassment to their families. BBC’s Claudia Hammond reported that some families stop searching for their kidnapped daughters only after a week because they are afraid their daughters were sold to a brothel. She also mentioned that around 350 children live at brothels and hide under beds when clients visit. The average accommodation given to a sex worker is a room with a TV, fan, and double bed.
Bangladesh is one of the few Islamic countries that have legalized prostitution. “Bangladesh is a poor country, and the women who live in brothels are the poorest. Nobody helps us, but we sex workers need help. People are only interested in us when they can exploit us,” said Aklima Begum Akhi, the head of the Tangail Sex Worker’s Association.