The Ruby Road Project, launched by Amy Kuruvilla and Lydia Muirhead, works towards eliminating women trafficking

A woman’s body is a cash cow. It’s the hen that lays the golden egg. She is traded for sex. Such stories abound. It was one such story that left Amy Kuruvilla and Lydia Muirhead, from Australia, distressed and inspired them to take up the cause of sex slavery.

Two years ago where they returned to Ooty, where they studied, at Hebron, they heard the tale of two minor girls sold to brothels by their families. “It was the turning point for us. We could not sit back,” says Amy who went back to Australia and together with sister Lydia and her husband James started ‘The Ruby Road Project’ in 2011.

The group is in the city to spread awareness about the subject. They will be screening a hard hitting film Nefarious I: Merchant of Souls at RamaVarma Club on June 8 at 6 p.m.

The two hour programme will include discussion and a musical rendition by the group, which is part of the Melbourne Gospel Choir.

“We use to come to Kerala to meet our ammachi and uncle. We are familiar with issues affecting society here. The meeting with the young victims of sex trade was a turning point for us. We met up with Freedom Firm, an organisation that works in this area and began work,” says Amy.

The project’s vision is two fold - one to raise awareness on sex exploitation and second to raise funds for the rehabilitation of victims through creative events. “We are facilitators in rehabilitating sex victims,” says James who firmly believes that it is important for men to support such initiatives. “Men don’t want to know about this topic. It is important for them, as men, to stand up for the cause,” he says.

The group have shocking information on the ground reality of modern day slavery. There are about 27 million slaves across the globe today. Human trafficking is the second largest globally organised crime. Trafficking for sex generates 27.8 billion USD per year. According to UNICEF a child is trafficked every 30 seconds.

“As women, we are focussing on women sex slaves. Surprisingly, a high percentage of minor boys are being used for trade. There are three epicentres of this – Eastern Europe, USA and South East Asia,” informs Lydia, adding that a human being is a commodity, which can be sold many times over for money.

The three activists are professional singers and believe that music has a big outreach. In the city, they are working along with a women’s group, ‘Raising Our Voices’ that works along similar lines. A song that the group will sing is significant. It begins, ‘Break the chain…’ and talks about freedom from the shackles of slavery. For more details log on to www.rubyroadproject.org