Friday, September 13, 2013

Blog 1: Under Age Prostitution in India

Trafficking of Children and Women in India:

According to this article 80% of worldwide trafficking is sex related. This international exploitation is only growing as demand increases. The chances of Women born in India specifically, tea-pickers in Assam in northeastern India are slim. Most young girls are sold as a result of their family’s poverty  to “employers” in the city to find work for themselves which, sometimes unknown to the family and sometimes known, is really ends up being forced prostitution. These young girls eventually become victims of sex slavery, exploited and abused. This is not legalized prostitution but rather forced slavery while the proceeds are given to their male owners. Women and young girls are likely targets, used for a range of things such as: prostitution, household work and also forced marriage. This trafficking is caused by a range of ongoing problems in India, from social inequality, to corruption with government officials.

“India’s sprawling commercial sex industry which, according to the government, has about three million prostitutes, of which 40 per cent are children aged under 18.” The demand in India and around the world for prostitution is only continually on the rise. Many young girls become to victims of slavery because their parents sell them to help pay back debt, which the article refers to as “debt bondage”- when a child and in many cases young girls, are sold by parents and made a profit off of. The younger it seems the more prized and the more profit an owner can make. Not only is this detrimental to an Indian women’s role in society but it also is causing health issues. These children are more susceptible to aids, HIV, abuse, cancer and also drug abuse. One of the ways the article states that we may solve this social issue is through “equitable sharing of resources, knowledge and wealth.”

This article states that the reason this is such a deep issue in India is because of the socially constructed inequalities in gender. It even relates the popular rape case in Delhi to this. Because of ancient rigid tradition the women in India are viewed more as property and married usually for social and financial reasons. Avoiding being ethnocentric is tricky here... but when women are “sold” to their husbands it creates this social problem. Young girls may therefore be “sold” to buyers as property. A shared reality has been created in India that does not see women as equal individuals because they are subject to their male superior. As a result a social problem arises and corrupt industries such as selling girls and using them for forced labor and forced sex. Government officials are bribed to look past it. We see examples of this such as rap and also exploitation of children and young girls. Education or “knowledge” as the article states will be a plausible cure for this epidemic in India. As women are educated properly as well as the youth in India receiving occupations in society, perhaps the negativity within these traditional views will continue to break down and abolish this horror of inequality more and more. This creates a paradigm shift culturally, the way the Indian woman is viewed by the Indian men as a result of her place in society may change and demand for trafficking will become less prevalent.

Anna Jacobsen

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