Thursday, June 9, 2011

Remembering the children

We've had a great roadtrip so far. It's been full of adventure, most of it great and some not so good. But the details will have to wait for when I am a little more fresh to write them up. For now, I just wanted to post something which has been on my mind for the last 3 days. As we travel through this beautiful, beautiful country, we have seen many children in different stages of life, doing different things. And everytime I see a child, these an article that I read and a video I saw just before I left Shillong come back to me. The first is about the terrible sex trade that is rampant in our country. For the number of girls being sold into sexual slavery and abuse, there are far too many people attempting to make a difference. This article tells the story of one little girl, the danger she faces and those trying to help her. (HT: Z)
An excerpt 
M. is an ebullient girl, age 10, who ranks near the top of her fourth-grade class and dreams of being a doctor. Yet she, like all of India, is at a turning point, and it looks as if her family may instead sell her to a brothel.

Her mother is a prostitute here in Kolkata, the city better known to the world as Calcutta. Ruchira Gupta, who runs an organization called Apne Aap that fights human trafficking, estimates that 90 percent of the daughters of Indian prostitutes end up in the sex trade as well. And M. has the extra burden that she belongs to a subcaste whose girls are often expected to become prostitutes.
The conclusion: is surreal that these scenes are unfolding in the 21st century. The peak of the trans-Atlantic slave trade was the 1780s, when just under 80,000 slaves a year were transported from Africa to the New World.

These days, Unicef estimates that 1.8 million children a year enter the commercial sex trade. Multiply M. by 1.8 million, and you understand the need for a new abolitionist movement.

And the video from my very own Meghalaya was shared by a friend on Facebook and it's scary. To think of doing what these young children are doing gives me the shivers. This may be all they do for the rest of their lives - till their health fails or they die in an accident. It's a terrible thing, especially when you realise that the illegal coal-mining industry has made some people so unbelievably wealthy at huge cost to so many others. Even the members of their own tribe or clan. Watch it and weep....

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