Complex Tragedy: India runs short of justice for sex racket victims which they had in plenty for Italian Marines
How does one equate a girl lured away from a village in Bangladesh to a brothel in India just so there is enough money to feed all the mouths in the family? The only mistake was they trusted the people who posed as saviours.
And it has been eight years since three Bangla girls came to Kozhikode trapped in a sex racket as teenagers after a greater migration from India’s eastern neighbour.
Recently, a hard earned opportunity to repatriate them back to their homeland was spoilt due to technical glitches.
Here lies imbalance and disparity. India is a land where the criminal Italian Marines were easily sent back to their homeland on ‘Humanitarian Grounds’. And on the other hand, the victimised girls are still are held back from leaving to Bangladesh.
“What is our crime? Why are we the ones detained within the walls of a shelter home when those who victimised us roam freely?” they ask.
These three girls left their homes in Bangladesh at the age of 13 or 14 to find a job and feed their hungry siblings and ailing parents.
The fate that awaited them was to be sex slaves to a few rich and powerful men. They somehow escaped and were sheltered in the government children’s home in Kozhikode.
Tearful Plea to Kerala Government
The plight of the hapless victims of sexual abuse mirrored the indifference of our society and the prevailing system.
A letter written by three girls make us rethink about the system and its utter disregard for those who has become victims of sexual abuse.
While the accused, found to be either absconding or out on bail, are leading a normal life, these girls are still living behind the closed doors.
An NGO named Arm of Joy is now fighting for the release of the girls. The Bangladesh High Commission, following a request from the NGO, issued a travel permit in January which got expired last April as authorities concerned failed to take action.
Arm of Joy
Their letter has been sent to the Governor as well as various human rights activists by ‘Arm of Joy’ requesting intervention in the issue. It is a plea to help them go home and lead a normal family life, since they have reached a marriageable age now.
“Being detained here for no crime of theirs, these women are undergoing double victimisation. This is a violation of their human rights,” said Anoop.G, Director of ‘Arm of Joy’ and added that the NGO, along with Punarjani Lady Lawyers’ collective was planning to approach the National Human Rights Commission on the issue.
The NGO, which came into existence in the beginning of 2015, aims to provide selfless service and assistance to the deserving people in our society and to raise the voice for the helpless beings around us. Orphan children, women who are in trouble, kids with special needs, the aged and the abandoned, the ones who are suffering from pain and poverty, people who suffer from abuse and cruelty and so on are subjects of their work.
India’s wrong approach towards Sex Racket Victims
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime realized that giving some age-old crimes an umbrella name does precious little by way of curbing them. Hence, perhaps, the idea of GIFT (the Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking) and the keenness to have the government as the running mate — resulting in a two-day conference in New Delhi (October 10-11), which brought together NGOs, bureaucrats, ministers, filmstars, artists, corporate leaders, journalists, and, of course, policemen.
But where were the victims/survivors’ It would be understandable if the decision to keep them away from the public forum was taken to show the sensitivity. But what about their stories, the specifics of their cases, in the absence of which any discussion could only become a general exchange of pious intent’ Case studies were too few and far between. Perhaps the idea was to show that exploitation and atrocities are the same everywhere.
U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report states that, India is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Internal forced labour may constitute India’s largest trafficking problem; men, women, and children in debt bondage are forced to work in industries such as brick kilns, rice mills, agriculture, and embroidery factories.
Although no comprehensive study of forced and bonded labour has been carried out, some NGOs estimate this problem affects tens of millions of Indians. Those from India’s most disadvantaged social economic strata are particularly vulnerable to forced or bonded labour and sex trafficking. Women and girls are trafficked within the country for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced marriage.
It is estimated that 300,000 to 450,000 people are trafficked within Asia each year, of which more than half take place in South Asia, said the ‘Human Trafficking and HIV: Exploring vulnerabilities and responses in South Asia’ report, prepared by the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP).
It is always unfair, when the prey of sex rackets are again victimised under the label of ‘Judicial Proceedings’.