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11 Heartbreaking photos Reveal Life Inside a Legal Brothel in Bangladesh

Prostitution is legal in only a few Muslim countries and Bangladesh is one of them. The Kandapara brothel located in the district of Tangail is one of the oldest and second largest brothels in the country. It has existed in Tangail for the last 200 years.

The Kandapara brothel was destroyed in 2014 and has been restarted once again with the help of local NGOs.

Photojournalist Sandra Hoyn documents what life is like inside the walled city.

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Kajol with a customer (All photographs by Sandra Hoyn)


Meghla, 23, with a customer in the Kandapara brothel in Tangail. She started working for a garment factory when she was 12 years old. There that she met a man who promised her a better job with more money and he sold her into a brothel.

Meghla, 23, with a customer in the Kandapara brothel in Tangail. She started working for a garment factory when she was 12 years old. There, she met a man who promised her a better job with more money. He sold her into a brothel.



A customer try to kiss Priya, 19, on the cheek. Since she is 17 she is working as a seworker in the Kandapara brothel in Tangail.

A customer tries to kiss Priya, 19, on the cheek. She began working as a sexworker in the Kandapara brothel at 17.

Sumaiya, 17, in the Kandapara brothel in Tangail. Her boyfriend and regular customer Titu, 23, has beaten her in the face. He is from Dhaka and visits ger every month one week. They are often fighting, because Tutu wants to marry her, but she doesn´t want. She is afraid that after marriage he will take away all her money. He is jealous, because she has sex with many of his friends. Sumaiya is jealous because he has sex with other sexworkers in the brothel.

Sumaiya gets beaten in the face by Titu. They are often fighting because Titu wants to marry her, but she refuses. She is afraid that after marriage he will take away all her money. He is jealous because she has sex with many of his friends. Sumaiya is jealous because he has sex with other sexworkers in the brothel.

Priya, 19, is teasing a friend and try to beat him, but not seriously. She is working as a sex worker since she is 17.

Priya, 19, is teasing a friend by trying to beat him, but not seriously.



Pakhi,15 years, with a customer in her room in the Kandapara brothel in Tangail. She lives since she is 14 in the brothel. She got married with 12, ran away. A man picked her off the street and sold her into a brothel.

Pakhi, 15, with a customer in her room in the Kandapara brothel. She’s lived in the brothel since she was 14. She got married at 12 and ran away shortly after. A man picked her off the street and sold her into a brothel.

Bonna, 27, a sexworker in the Kandapara brothel in Tangail, is laughing with a condom in the hand. When she was 7 years old she was raped by her stepfather. She run away from home with 10 years as a man picked her off the street and sold her into a brothel. She has two regularly customers. On average she earn 1500 Taka (19 $) per day.

Bonna, 27, a sexworker in the Kandapara brothel, is laughing with a condom in her hand. When she was 7 years old, she was raped by her stepfather. She ran away from home at 10 and a man picked her off the street and sold her into a brothel. She has two regular customers. On average, she earns 1500 Taka (19 $) per day.

Dipa, 26 years, is crying. She is in the 2nd month pregnant from a customer in the Kandapara brothel in Tangail.

Dipa, 26 years, is crying. She is in the second month pregnant from a customer in the Kandapara brothel in Tangail.

Sumaiya, 17, with her boyfriend and regular customer Titu, 23, in the Kandapara brothel in Tangail. He is from Dhaka and visits ger every month one week. They are often fighting, because Titu wants to marry her, but she doesn´t want. She is afraid that after marriage he will take away all her money. He is jealous, because she has sex with many of his friends. Sumaiya is jealous because he has sex with other sexworkers in the brothel.


Sumaiya, 17, with her boyfriend and regular customer Titu, 23, in the Kandapara brothel in Tangail. He is from Dhaka and visits her every month for one week.


Custumers inside the Kandapara brothel in Tangail.
Customers inside the Kandapara brothel in Tangail.
Asma, 14 years, was born into the Kandapara brothel in Tangail. She has stopped attending school because the students harass her because her mother work as sexworker in the brothel. She started working as a sex worker when she was 14 years old. Before she danced in front of customers.
Asma stopped attending school when the students harassed her because her mother worked as a sexworker in the brothel. She started as a sex worker when she was 14 years old. Before that, she danced in front of customers.
All photos copyrighted by Sandra Hoyn.

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