Banking on the Sex Trade

Kolkata-based Aditi Biswas, 29, was keen to turn entrepreneur and run her own grocery. There was one problem. Aditi was working as a prostitute and the neighborhood banks she approached for loans turned her down flat. Enter the Usha Multipurpose Cooperative Society, a bank that caters exclusively to the financial needs of Kolkata’s sex workers. The society offered Aditi seed capital of Rs100,000 ($2500) for her business, with minimal fuss and nominal interest. Away from the sleaze of her previous profession, Aditi is now an entrepreneur who not only sends her children to a good school but also just bought a one-bedroom house. “The bank has turned my life around 180 degrees,” she exults.

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