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Is There Hope for Prostitutes in India

Many forms of work are praised and glorified, because work is necessary in order for society to function. Some jobs however, are cruel, demeaning and dangerous. A prime example, one that sadly is all too common, is prostitution. Prostitution is not necessarily a job for the sex workers or victims themselves, but it is a forced lifestyle. In India, this is an awful and extremely current issue. Young girls are either forced into the human trafficking trade or have a moral obligation to do so for the sake of their families.

Girls, even as young as 14 years-old, are forced into the sex trade. Bharti Tapa was one of the many girls in Bombay who were forced into prostitution. Bharti states, “When I arrived at the brothel, I refused to do what they told me to and they beat me and starved me for 10 days, I thought I would rather kill myself than be forced to work as a prostitute.”  Fortunately, she was rescued from the sex trade and was reunited with her parents. However, the vast majority of other young girls aren’t as lucky as Bharti. Specifically, these young victims are raped, starved, and forced to live in poor conditions. Their “work” sometimes consists of having sex with 20 men in a day, which inevitably results in these young women acquiring many diseases such as malaria, aids, tuberculosis and STDs. Additionally, these girls are put at a very high risk of unwanted pregnancy. These girls will either have to give birth many times, or have abortion after abortion, which could kill them and their moral esteem. Not to mention, women can simply die by taking their own lives in order to rid themselves of the forced lifestyle they must endure. Some prostitution rings bind to ten years ten years in the business. Yet, even after those ten years are up, some women are in such bad emotional, mental, and physical states, that they have nowhere to go.

These women are suffering day in and day out, and it’s clear that even from across the ocean there’s much we can do to help them.

Notorious for prostitution, Garstin Bastion Road and Delhi’s Red Light District have been getting attention, and not for the wrong reasons. A Telecom minister and Congress candidate, Kapil Sibal, visited the Red Light District, where the sex workers had given them written demands for other prostitutes.  The Red Light district has over 116 brothels housing 4500 prostitutes, 2000 of which have the ability to vote. A local 38 year old prostitute said, “But nothing will change for us, who-so-ever comes to power. The only positive part is that after so many years, we have finally got the right to vote, unlike in the past, when we were not even considered citizens of this country.” These women are becoming recognized as people who are as much a part of the community as anyone else, and according to the article, Kapil Sibal had told the women that their demands would be acknowledged and addressed. Such demands include “a special home for children, pension for old sex workers who are forced to beg on the streets and better healthcare facilities through health care card for sex workers, who are prone to high-risk diseases,” stated elegantly by Bhola the president of Bharatiya Patita Uddhar Sabha, a rehabilitation center for sex workers. People as well as politicians  are acknowledging the poor conditions and burden sex workers must go through.

Change is not only occurring in infamous areas, but all around India. A businessman, Balkrishna Acharya of Mumbai, had saved the lives of 187 sex workers. Civilians have been contributing a lot to the efforts to end sex trafficking; sometimes even just tipping off police officials can do much good. Because of this, four women were rescued from Delhi and Kolkata Raveendran, which involved a 54-year old man who created a sex trade operation disguised as a taxi driver. In addition, two sex workers were taken into custody in Calangute, when the police received a tip. Due to the informant, the police officials were able to set up a trap, where two customers were sent two prostitutes, however the pimps eluded the cops. Not only are there police officials involved in helping these women, but there are also organizations. Apne Aap is an organization that’s prime goal is to end prostitution as well as decrease the spread of HIV. This organization has been so impactful that it has already helped over 17,000 women. Positive change in the world of human trafficking is occurring now through dedicated and influential organizations such as Apne Aap.

Human trafficking is exactly what it sounds like, it’s slavery. Prostitution is a form of slavery, it’s disgusting and real. Women, specifically young children, are being forced into the sex trade. This is not a new issue; it has been consistent throughout history, yet not much has changed. Young children are forced into slavery due to their vulnerability, yet because of the danger involved in such a terrible form of enslavement, these children have little to no chance of escaping. Due to this, it is crucial to raise awareness; through awareness, these sex workers can live a better life and finally achieve freedom.

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