Andhra Pradesh

The ugly face of human trafficking

More and more minor girls are being forced into sex work, following fear among men that they might contract HIV/AIDS in case of intercourse with women sex workers.

“A disturbing fact is that the age of children is progressively declining to meet the demand for younger prostitutes,” laments Prajawala senior project coordinator Y. Chandraiah, who led a campaign against human trafficking sponsored by the US Consulate to create awareness among vulnerable people, in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

“One out of every four victims rescued from prostitution is a child, and 60 per cent of these children are HIV positive.”

As the caravan christened ‘Suraksha’, flagged off by Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan in Hyderabad on January 9, meandered through the dusty lanes of Ongole, Podili, Markapur, Addanki and Chirala mandals in Prakasam district, Mr. Chandraiah explained that: “Andhra Pradesh is one of the largest suppliers of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation. Economic hardships coupled with the prevailing low status of women in society, and changing attitudes towards sex and morality create conducive conditions for this modern-day form of slavery,” he adds.

“Human trafficking is the second organised crime with $29.8 billion changing hands. As many as 24 women land in red light area each day, while a child goes missing every two minutes in the country,” he explains, after screening documentaries on heart-rending stories of women and children victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

Anjali (name changed) had lost all hope after her parents died. She left her home after her grandfather chided her. She was stranded in Vijayawada railway station where a stranger promised to arrange for her a decent job in Mumbai, Mr. Chandraiah said, adding that she landed in the red light area in Mumbai before she was rescued by Prajawala.

The fate of another girl Shanthi (name changed) was no different. While in ninth class, she fell in love with a motorcycle mechanic. After her parents scolded her, she ran away with him and even got married to him. He took her to Hyderabad and introduced a woman as his sister. After a few days, he left her with a promise that he would take her back after getting a job. When he did not return, she realised that he had sold her for Rs. 50,000 to the woman, who forced her into sex work, another survivor recalled.

It was not poverty alone that pushed the hapless girls into sex trade. Some of them used to extravagant lifestyle chase lucrative jobs in distant cities and towns and finally end up in red light areas, Mr. Chandraiah, says, stressing the need for forming community vigilante groups to prevent human trafficking.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 2:28:22 PM |

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