Mumbai’s Fort area has been selling ‘banned’ sex toys since the last 40 years.
One of south Mumbai’s best-kept ‘open secrets’ are the shops selling sex toys in Fort. They are openly sold at small stalls at the road-side opposite the court, with all kinds of sex toys kept in prominent display.
They are available in all varieties; motorised and non-motorised. These ‘banned’ products are being sold at this location since the past 40 years. The advantage of keeping it in prominent display is that it makes customers comfortable to approach them. Both males and females purchase sex toys, either for their own use or to gift their friends/partners.
"Ye sab bikta hai [All this sells]," a retailer said when asked to explain what the product is. When asked if anyone objects to such a bold display, he denied it. When asked if these products are banned, a vendor replied, “Net pe jake dekho kya kya milta hai [Check the internet to see what all is available]."
The sex toys are priced from Rs 300 to 400, reported Midday. Sex dolls are available too, a vendor said, but only on order. They cost between Rs 12,000 to Rs 16,000. Smaller ones are also available for RS 2,000 to RS 4,000. The vendors also assure you of its quality. “We wouldn’t have been doing this business for 40 years if it was harmful,” they explained.
Discomfort of passers-by
Most people find it awkward to pass by these shops, especially if they are accompanied by family. "It is so difficult to come here with family and kids as these toys with obscene photographs are put on sale publicly. If such materials are illegal, how can they be available openly in the market? Retailers should have some moral sense. At least they should cover the obscene photographs while selling these toys," said a shopper at Fort.
Several retailers sell toys for kids along with adult toys. If a passer-by shows curiosity, or stops temporarily beside these shops, the vendors immediately beckon to you, “Don’t be shy, this normal. What can we help you with?,” the vendors often say to lure you to check out the products on display.
Although these are ‘banned’ items, a number of e-commerce websites still sell sex toys and related items. The Social Service Branch of Mumbai Police said they were unaware of the sale of sex toys at Fort. "We have been taking action against obscene material put on display, books and DVDs of porn movies, but we have just come across such toys. If any such complaint comes to us regarding the toys, we will initiate action in accordance with the law," said an officer.