A girl of 13 is kidnapped from her school and forced into prostitution for the rest of her life, a girl whose innocent dreams had just begun to take shape. A girl who would never know what freedom tastes like, who would never know what it is to be loved and cared for. A girl who will no longer exist in the real world, taken into a different world, she is lost forever.
Here we are discussing about those women who are trafficked each day. They migrate each day from place to place. As per the estimates made by UNESCO women form eighty percent of the people who are trafficked and forced in the unpaid jobs and slavery. Sex trafficking is indeed the most vicious form of women exploitation possible. These women are forced into sex 20-48 times a day. Some are even forced into pornography.
Sitting in our air conditioned rooms it is hard for us to imagine that some women live a life like that. They live in constant threat, not knowing what the next morning may bring. These women have nowhere to call, no place to seek for help.
Despite several measures taken by the FBI and other international agencies these things continue to exist. Primarily because it is difficult to track down these women, as most of them have no access to money or phone call. Some are even confined within a room and do not get to come out at all, they are unable to socialize and hence unable to seek for any outside help. In most of the cases they are migrated over international borders, to a country where they cannot even communicate with the local people because they do not know the local language. It is not difficult to believe that it is a ten billion dollar industry. The statistics are just as shocking.
What are we to do about it, how we can contribute into a problem of this magnitude?
Well I would like to quote a New York Times columnist here “The greatest threat to extremism isn’t drones firing missiles, but girls reading books”
Yes it is education. The more a girl is educated the lesser chances that they will fall prey to such acts. Not because they will e surrounded by educated people and stay in that sophisticated environment but because they will be more aware. An educated girl can find a better way to avoid such situations and to come out of it.
Our school courses must introduce self defence classes. It’s high time and we can no longer rely on the police to protect us all the time. They cannot be everywhere every time. It is you who has to accept that nobody would come to your rescue and you alone have to take charge.
We must stay alert. Not only to protect ourselves but also to help those around us. If we keep an eye for women who are living in poor conditions and have no access to any sort of financial aid. We must merely see but observe what is happening all around. We never know what difference a small help can make. Each day these living scream out for help, they try to escape, they try to contact us. One voice, one phone call, one friend is all they need. Until then they remain lost in darkness.
With technology we say the world has come closer and communication has become easier, but technology is a tool which in the wrong hands can lead to devastation. Sex trafficking is not the only way women are being sexually exploited. Today something known as web cam sex tourism is also on a rise. It is spreading like an epidemic. Men from rich countries exploit women from poor countries, in exchange of money, over the web cam. These women are asked to take off their clothes and perform various sexual activities with their bodies.
The UN and the FBI estimate that at any given time 750,000 such people are online. These crimes are not only difficult to prove but these criminals are difficult to track because they often come online anonymously. A step taken to get hold of such people is a computer based model, called Sweetie. This model appears like a 10 year old girl and is controlled remotely from a different location. This model is used to track down paedophiles. The police try to get bits and pieces of information which these people provide while chatting and then find them through the social networking websites. While Sweetie chats with these people the police simultaneously try to locate these people over the internet.
What we need however is more such initiatives by all of us. We need to join hands, work together and pledge to support any women who may need our help, even women who are forced to do such work in order to sustain a living.
This is a time that requires us to stay active, not simply watch as passive citizens who are afraid to get themselves involved in such crimes. Together we can find these lost girls. Lead them to a better and safer life.