“We see faces but no identity, bodies without destiny. Cars slow down their pace, men look out their windows and gaze. Every night when a girl drives back home, crosses that road, where love is sold”.
When we hear the word women trafficking, what comes our minds? Maybe a global issue, happening over there? Someone’s horrible problems but not ours? Or about any movie has taken? Or most fascinatedly, the crazy vade van that has been in fierce, that our children have been abducted into?
What if I say, it is not a so-called international issue but it’s something which is hidden in the backyards of our own cities. What if I say, it is in our own cities, where we are, not safe and can be bought and sold any moment of time.
What we have in our minds is that trafficking means girls are kidnapped and chained to beds. Yes, that’s understandable and this is because we craft our understanding based on the media representation. But let me make it very clear, that’s it is just a cinematic version and the reality is often different.
By the definition, ‘trafficking’ means forced work. A victim is forced to do things against his/her will. Globally, 80% of women trafficking is related to sexual exploitation while the rest is bonded labour. And India is allegedly the hub of these crimes in Asia.
Here’s a story of a young girl, Rebecca Blender, who survived women trafficking. She was born and raised in a small town, in southern Oregon, in a normal middle-class family. For higher studies, she got assigned to the state university and was very excited to move to the new place. But that summer, she got pregnant by her boyfriend. Knowing this pregnancy, her boyfriend left her on her own. She finally decided to have this baby and gave birth to a beautiful girl. It was at that time when she met a guy who pretended to have interest in her. She liked the way he treated her child and then they got along the way very well. When everything going well they decided to move to Las Vegas because his new boyfriend was working there. Then after few days, his boyfriend pulled her up to an escort service and told her that this is how it works in Vegas, had spent a lot of money to get her here and tells her to earn the money to pay back. She felt trapped. She was helpless with her baby. “When you have a trafficker, waiting at home, with your child and says if you don’t bring $1500, you are going to find your daughter out on the corner”, says Rebecca. She says that she was probably more frightened to go back home than was to be in the red room.
It’s not just Rebecca Blender, but many girls across us who live in such darkness.
So, the basic reason for this whole thing that I figured out is poverty and sexual abuse. It has been seen that poor girls who don’t find ways to get out of their poverty, ultimately find their way to the traffickers who would give them money for survival. Many vulnerable girls and women are lured by promises of employment and some parents are so desperate that they sell their daughters for some money. Also, sexual abuse is concerned to be the most talked reason. Yes, because when a girl is sexually abused, most of them break down, leave everything, home family and just run out in the world so deep and dark, homeless, confused and scared. Around 90% of these runaways are approached by traffickers to converse in sex industry. And do you know all that it takes are just few golden lines like, are you hungry? I bet you need a place to stay tonight and with that a little girl longing for a covering finally will go right into his predators arms where she will remain sold for sex.
“She was just 16 when she went missing from her home town. She reached the city amidst slaughters. She never saw her family again. She was sold while still was a daughter. She lies down on the beds of tyrants, while she was still dressed as a bride”.
Of course it’s preventable. There is some hope and researches have told that intervention at the ages of 8, 12 and 18 are most affective. We need to make ourselves and children aware of all this creepy World out there. Let’s try to bring about a change because we never know if we can be the one, amongst the other millions of girls.
Break the silence and stop every nightmare that haunts a women.
Pratibha Elin Lakra
BA LLB (Hons.)