Roshni’s nightmare began on 17th July 2010. The mother of six children, her husband was unwell and unable to work for a living. To support her family, she did odd jobs in the village for which she was paid meagre sums of money. Three of her six children studied in a missionary school not far from Kolkata. She would often travel there on the local train to visit them. On one such visit, a woman befriended her and took pity on her financial condition. She promised a job as a hospital attendant to Roshni.
On 17th July 2010, Roshni got a call from her friend, asking her to meet up immediately for the job. When Roshni met her, two men and the woman were waiting for her. They gave her food to eat, which was drugged. Falling unconscious, she was taken aboard a train. Not fully conscious, she didn’t understand where she was going and why she was going. Her abductors took away her cell phone, money, jewellery and even her slippers. Next morning she woke up in somebody’s house. She had been sold to a brothel.
She was trapped and helpless. If she refused to work as a prostitute, she was beaten up and forced to meet her clients. Often she cried and was beaten up for that too.
In September of that same year, a local shopkeeper sympathised with her plight. He promised to connect her to her brother through some people he knew of her village. Soon she talked to her brother using the shopkeeper’s cell phone. By the dedicated and coordinated efforts of the West Bengal police and a local NGO, she was rescued on 6th October 2010.
The problem of human trafficking is well known among Indians but is rarely openly discussed. The fact is that a very large number of Indian families employ women and children to do household chores who have obscure backgrounds. Many may be illegally trafficked. A government crackdown on trafficked people will affect us more deeply than one can imagine.
According to the estimates by some Indian NGOs, human trafficking affects 20-65 million Indians. The common thread that unites all the unfortunate trafficked population is that all of them come from poor families. Poor, uneducated girls are an easy target for trafficking rings who later sell them to brothels and paedophiles. Only a few as lucky as Roshni are ever rescued. The rest remain in the vicious circle of prostitution, poverty, disease and torture-mental and physical. It’s not uncommon for them to bear children of their clients. These children never see the world outside of the brothel which they call home. Often they are themselves sucked into prostitution or act as pimps.Nepali and Bangladeshi women and children are sold off to Indian brothels because of their ‘exotic’ value whereas Indians are sold off to Middle-Eastern countries.
As responsible citizens of the country, we can make a difference by making ourselves aware of the issue of h
uman trafficking. We can talk to others about it and make them aware of it. It is not a popular conversation but a necessary conversation. There are several NGOs trying to improve the situation. The least we can do is support them on social media.
Every human being is equal. Trafficking reduces a human life to that of a commodity, one that is sold and bought. If you get to know about such cases, report it.
Think and act. Let us do our bit, for every action counts. May we be a better society! We wish you all good! 🙂
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