INDIA: 16 Million Women Forced into Sex Trade

By Manash Pratim Gohain, TNN, on Dec 11, 2013—
“Three million women (2.48%) are engaged in commercial sex activity (CSA) in India, a 50% rise from 1997. Over 60% of those trafficked into sex work are adolescent girls in the age group of 12-16 years. More than 35% girls in India enter CSA before 18 years of age.

These and many more disturbing trends were revealed in the ‘Zero Traffick’, a report on sex trafficking in India. The report was launched by Dasra, a strategic philanthropy foundation in India, the Hummingbird Trust of the UK and Japan’s Kamonohashi Project at Trust Law Conference in London last week.

According to a press statement, despite increasing public outcry about violence against women in India, systematic large scale abuse in the name of commercial sex work remains socially acceptable. The report aims to draw attention to the growing victimization of women, highlights high impact non-profits working on the issue and the outlines the role of philanthropy in scaling their efforts.

Speaking at the international launch of the report in London, Clare Mathias, chair of the board, the Hummingbird Trust, said” “Amongst other reasons, economic disparities and discriminatory cultural practices make young women and children particularly vulnerable to being trafficked. It is important we tackle these issues at source areas.”

Over the last six months, Dasra’s team worked closely with the report sponsors to follow a comprehensive diligence process. They engaged with sector experts, reviewed over 80 non-profit organizations in key source and destination areas of West Bengal and Maharashtra and identified the top 13 non-profit organizations with the most potential to create sustainable impact.

Talking about the need for non-profits, policymakers and philanthropists to work together, Keisuke Motoki, co-founder of Kamonohashi Project, said: “We took the integrated approach in Cambodia to eliminate minor sex trafficking; establishing a community factory in a vulnerable area, as a social enterprise, to create employment for the vulnerable families to human trafficking, and strengthening the law enforcement through capacity building of police in partnership with the Cambodian National Government. We are eyeing good partnership with local NGOs and philanthropists to bring the substantial change in sex trafficking.”

The report stated that India has three lakh brothels in 1,100 identified red-light areas, housing nearly five million children in addition to commercial sex workers. More than 25% of women in CSA in India are situated in Maharashtra (14.20%) and West Bengal (13%).

Neera Nundy, partner and co-founder Dasra said: “Forty percent of the victims are adolescents and children, some as young as nine years old. The long term social and health impact of this crisis is frightening.” Pointing to Dasra’s findings, Nundy added, “Trafficking can and must be reduced through the effective implementation of the 4P framework – prevention, protection, prosecution and partnership in source and destination regions.””

For the original article, please click here.

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