SHABANA ANSARI IN THE DAILY BHASKAR
Mumbai: Every evening, the roads along Bharatpur district in Rajasthan are lit by lanterns and flashlights held by sex workers trying to attract customers. The girls are accompanied by their brothers or fathers who haggle with truck drivers to fix a price for the sex workers, who are often between 13 and 15 years.
While many of us may recoil in disgust at the practice of family members pimping their underage relatives, the initiation of adolescent girls in the flesh trade by their own kin is an accepted norm in Bharatpur. Here, women are expected to sell their bodies to support their families in which the men have no other work but to find customers for their sisters and daughters.
The custom is now the subject of a documentary Trapped by Tradition, which is made by American television news channel CNN International. The 30-minute film follows actor-producer Anil Kapoor to a village in Bharatpur, where he examines how poverty, illiteracy and social pressures have contributed to the tradition of trafficking female children.
As the women share ghastly tales of exploitation and helplessness, Kapoor also lends a ear to the male members to understand why sexual exploitation of minor girls is sanctioned by society. “In today’s modern world, this practice is unacceptable. We should do whatever we can to eradicate it completely,” said Kapoor, who has been involved in campaigns against human trafficking for the past several years with Plan India, an organisation working to protect children against abuse and exploitation.
“It was clear that we must change the mindset of the people. They had to understand there are other options,” he added. Kapoor has now noticed a growing awareness in the community, something that was missing two years ago when he last visited Bharatpur. A little girl told him she wants to study and become an actress.
Kapoor believes that through education people will learn about lifestyle choices outside Bharatpur and India’s sex trade.
The documentary will be premiered on CNN International on September 24.
- The Body Shop India and Ecpat Will Present Over 300,000 Petitions to the National Government As India Ratifies the Un Convention Against Human Trafficking. (shaktivahini.wordpress.com)
- Rehabilitation of Sex Workers (equalityindia.wordpress.com)
- Sex Workers Rehabilitation Case latest orders of the Honourable Supreme Court of India (indialawyers.wordpress.com)
- 6 arrested for trafficking minor girl from Mizoram (shaktivahini.wordpress.com)
- NE trafficking victim rescued from Haryana (shaktivahini.wordpress.com)