Posted on Apr 25, 2011 | 16 COMMENTS
Last week, after an 18-month-long investigation, 38 traffickers were arrested in Oceanside, California. The gang members were recruiting women through social network sites such as Facebook and MySpace. It was reported that over 30 women were found being held against their will, forced with physical violence into prostitution.
See the full report here: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Oceanside-Crips-Indicted-for-Prostitution-Ring-120141174.html?dr
Posted on Apr 08, 2011 | 35 COMMENTS
The news from India’s 2011 census is almost all heartening. Literacy is up; life expectancy is up; family size is stabilizing. But there is one grim exception. In 2011 India counted only 914 girls aged six and under for every 1,000 boys. Read the entire article in the Economist HERE.
Posted on Mar 30, 2010 | 15 COMMENTS
Sitting in the lobby of our Mumbai hotel last week, I picked up a magazine to thumb through as we waited to depart for an afternoon of fabric shopping for upcoming lines of Punjammies.
The magazine fell open to a double page spread advertisement for Dove shampoo. The only text on the page was this phrase in bold white letters: “It Lets You Hope.”
As I stared at the phrase on the magazine page, I couldn’t help but wonder what it is about Indian culture that would make the promise of hope an appealing ad campaign. Even among the more affluent Indian women who are reading magazines and buying Dove shampoo, are the longings for hope so deep that even advertisers are trying to harness that power?
I do know that the need for lasting hope lies at the root of every human heart. Judging simply by the things I witnessed with my own eyes in India over the past two weeks, this is a country where millions of women are moving through life without a shred of that basic human need. And that knowledge alone gives me a renewed zeal to fight with any resource I have available to introduce real and lasting hope to women in India.
The good news: I saw that genuine hope reflected back to me from the eyes of the ladies working with International Princess Project and other similar organizations in India. There is real transformation happening. And that is a brand of hope all its own.
Posted on Sep 13, 2008 | 7 COMMENTS
TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
27 million people around the world are estimated to be victims of slavery, for forced prostitution, labor, domestic work, and other forms of exploitation, with approximately 50% of victims being under the age of 18. UNICEF estimates that one million children will be forced into prostitution this year.
Victims of human trafficking are subject to gross human rights violations including rape, torture, beatings, starvation, dehumanization, and threats of murdering family members. In the case of traffficking for sexual exploitation, girls often have their virginity sold first, followed by multiple gang rape to break down their resistance. Since the bodies of young girls are not ready for sexual intercourse, this often results in abrasions, making the girls susceptible to HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
In India, there are over 2 million women and children working as prostitutes (1), 100,000 in Mumbai (Bombay) alone (2). 35% of these women working as prostitutes enter the sex trade before the age of 18 (3). Every day, about 200 girls and women enter prostitution, 80% of them against their will (4). In Mumbai, India lies Kamathipura; the largest concentrated red-light district in the world.
The women and children who are a part of the sex trade in India are caught in a vicious cycle of poverty, illiteracy and disease. The chance for escape from the sex trade is slim. Unlike the U.S. where government programs exist to help those who are destitute and want to make a change for the better in their lives, India has no financial aid for women who want to get out of the profession. The social stigma attached to children of commercial sex workers (the term used in India) bars them from entering public school, virtually forcing them into the same life that their mothers endure.
At least 80 indigenous organizations are working to rescue and provide after-care for women forced into this life-style (5). The capacity of these quality after-care homes is limited by the organization's dependence on charitable donations and their ability to provide the women tools and skills to help them make a successful transition back into society. Successful transition requires a sustainable skill that provides a viable lifestyle to a woman extremely vulnerable to re-victimization.
(1) BBC Report on Number of Sex Workers in India
(2) Robert I. Freidman, "India's Shame: Sexual Slavery and Political Corruption Are Leading to An AIDS Catastrophe," The Nation, 8 April 1996
(3) Dr KK Mukherjee NGO report on prostitution
(4) CEDPA and PRIDE, 1997
(5) India Human Rights Report, Trafficking in Persons
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