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Born Into Brothels

BORN INTO BROTHELS chronicle documentary filmmakers Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman’s time in Sonagachi, Calcutta, India, and follows the relationships they developed with children of prostitutes who work the city’s notorious red light district.

Director: Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman
Year: 2004
Time: 85 min

 Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids
(2004) on IMDb

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Share this film. Consider hosting a screening and follow it up by discussing your thoughts and feelings about the subject.

Support the Cameras for Kids Foundation that empowers underprivileged children through photography.

Purchase Kids With Cameras: The Book, a collection of photographs from the children featured in the film. All proceeds go to the children and others living in the red-light district.

Support Apne Aap, an Indian charity working to get women and children out of sex trafficking by joining their Cool Men Don’t Buy Sex campaign on Twitter or Facebook, or donate money or time to their cause.

Learn more about Youth Spark  – an organisation that works to stop child sex trafficking.

Related Articles and Resources

Director Zana Briski Returns to her First Love

“Photography is my medium. I am a traditional black and white photographer.”

“Most people, having won an Oscar for their very first film, might be expected to continue on that path. But Briski felt pulled to return to her first love, photography, and a project called “Reverence,” in which she photographs insects around the world.”

Read the full article here. 

Briski Discusses Oscar Win

Melissa Block talks with Zana Briski, co-maker of BORN INTO BROTHELS about winning an the Academy Award Sunday for best documentary.

Listen to the interview here,

Made In India But Not Released In India

An in depth article about the film.

Housewives Turn to Prostitution to Pay the Bills

“The world of secret sex workers, who are married and engage in prostitution without their husbands knowledge, has been explored in a recent book.

Dr Prabha Kotiswaran explored the economic and legal difficulties surrounding India’s burgeoning sex trade in her book Dangerous Sex, Invisible Labor.”

Read the full article here.


Listen to our playlist with music from the film on Spotify.

Is India Winning the War on Poverty?

“The number of Indians living in extreme poverty has fallen from 37% to 22% in the past seven years, according to the latest official data from the Planning Commission.

The good news is that poverty in large swathes of dirt-poor northern India – states like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh, which have been considered a drag on India’s development – has fallen sharply.”

Read more about this on BBC.

The History of Prostitution

“Wherever we find evidence of human culture, we find evidence of prostitution…”

Find out more about the history of the world’s oldest profession here.

Where are They Now?

Check out Kids with Cameras for information and updates on all of the kids and this BBC article on Avijit Halder’s progress.

The Passing of Khamathipura

In Mumbais red-light district brothels are being turned into offices and flats as city’s property market takes off

“It’s almost over already. Everything is shutting. It’s the end of Kamathipura,” said Hasina, 38, who has worked and lived there for two decades. Few beyond the brothel owners and the traffickers will mourn its passing, however.”

Read the full article here.


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