Ensuring trafficked girls in India get out, and stay out, of trafficking
As a global phenomenon involving up to 27 million people worldwide, the international sex trade is ongoing and growing. The trafficking industry is particularly pervasive in South Asia, where countries such as India serve as major hubs.
Sex trafficking in India stems from a number of factors.
Widespread poverty and a need for employment and income can lead families to sell their daughters into trafficking.
Trafficking is also an extremely profitable industry. Corruption and a lack of legitimate law enforcement often leaves room for the sex trafficking industry to flourish and for perpetrators to walk away from their crimes.
In addition to monetary incentives, India is faced with historic patterns of gender discrimination towards women and significant gender imbalances, causing increased demand for commercial sex.
In India, sex trafficking is associated with numerous risks to victims. Their exposure to HIV/AIDS and other STDs is extremely high, they often become victims of physical violence, and when trafficked girls become sick or are unable to work, they are often just left to die.
A proven three-pronged approach
With the continuing advancement of technology and growing number of cases, it has become more challenging to identify and target traffickers to provide justice and keep girls from re-entering the industry, so the need to develop a stronger legal infrastructure is paramount.
This is why One Day’s Wages partnered with the non-profit, Freedom Firm, in 2016 to not just rescue victims of trafficking, but seek justice. We’re now entering into our 2nd partnership with them to rescue, restore, and bring justice to victims of sex trafficking in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Freedom Firm takes a unique three-pronged approach in their efforts to eliminate child prostitution in India. In their first two steps, they focus on rescuing and providing restoration to victims of trafficking. By ensuring that rescued girls receive counseling, education, job opportunities, and a safe home to live in, they don’t end up back in the cycle of trafficking.
Lastly, Freedom Firm takes action from a third angle – seeking justice. Often times when we think about sex trafficking, we think about what we can do to support victims. But it’s important to also tackle this issue from the other side: targeting the perpetrators of sex trafficking.
Working with a legal team in India, our partnership with Freedom Firm will ensure that traffickers and brothel keepers in India continue to be arrested and prosecuted. Lawyers investigate each case of trafficking, work with witnesses and victims, and assist when cases are brought to trial.
Despite spanning multiple years, each case is seen through to the end to make sure that no victim slips through the cracks. Since Freedom Firm’s founding, 9 perpetrators have been convicted to imprisonment with 65 currently at different stages in the justice system and 110 criminal cases filed.
This sort of action – both from Freedom Firm and local police authorities – sends a message to the community that trafficking will absolutely not be tolerated. Even if we can’t convict every single perpetrator, having a handful of successful convictions acts as a strong deterrent to others.
By targeting perpetrators, we are putting an end to the cycle of trafficking from the top down.
Join us as we come alongside our partners like Freedom Firm to bring justice to victims of sex trafficking in India here.
Daphne Delaski is a Development Associate at One Day’s Wages, and a graduate student at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance.
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