The evolution of mankind has coincided with the growth of its underbelly- human trafficking. It is a global phenomenon that affects millions of people, with women and children being the most vulnerable victims. Human trafficking not only violates basic human rights but also poses a serious threat to public health and safety, as it often involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to control victims.
In our January edition, we discussed in detail the whole ecosystem surrounding human trafficking. But just to put things in perspective let’s briefly discuss why women form such a major chunk of this universal crime. Women are mostly trafficked for sex and the womb. Easy to lure, they join it for a variety of reasons. The side effects of this racket are the victims’ ‘little ones’ who are deeply affected and involved for absolutely no fault of theirs. Sometimes these kids also end up as victims, scarring them for life.
But healing from sexual abuse can start with just one word- HELP. Everyone is aware of their trauma. To protect these kids from their hostile environment, the government in association with many NGOs works tirelessly for their rescue and rehabilitation. One such NGO is ‘KRANTI’.
Kranti primarily works to empower sex workers and their children from Mumbai’s red light area, Kamathipura, so that they become agents of social change. They have dedicated activists to help victims. The kids are taught unconventionally to help them overcome their upbringing. There is a list of ongoing programs- education, therapy, art, music, etc.
Many girls from Kranti NGO have been featured in the media. One such inspiring story is that of Sheetal Jain, the daughter of a bar dancer from Mumbai’s Kamathipura. In her words, she loved and respected her mother but at first, did not understand her line of work. She even helped her mother get dressed in the evening.
When she grew a little older she realized her mother was a bar dancer, because she was constantly reminded that ‘A bar dancer’s daughter will become a bar dancer only’. The only thing she despised in this situation was that her mother married one of her customers. Things got complicated for Sheetal in this situation because was sexually abused by her stepfather.
She could have accepted things as fate. But trauma teaches resilience. The courageous and determined girl that Sheetal is, she chose to walk away from her negative past and carve a new and beautiful path for herself with the help of Kranti. She went to the United States of America after getting a scholarship and took a course in drumming. Now she is a drum circle facilitator and works for children in association with many NGOs.
Her story is inspirational and her success is hard-earned. While talking to the media she just said, “Yes, I am the daughter of a bar dancer”. Sheetal let loose years of agony and pain. Her shivering body, nervous smile, trembling voice, and teary eyes spoke volumes of unresolved pain. Her fragile demeanor betrayed her steel frame of mind. She must have mustered all the courage to accept her past as reality and talk about it in open.
Sheetal taught us the power of choice when she said, “I don’t want to become a bar dancer.” Taking things in her hand, she decided to walk away from her past. Sometimes we have to be patient with a firm belief to allow things to unfold naturally so that we can find our path in life. Sheetal did just that. She stopped chasing purpose and focused on her wellness by moving forward.
“I didn’t understand what was happening at that time.” Years later the pain still lingers. But hope kept her alive. Hope has brought her this far and it will take her to a brighter future. “Now that I have begun to dream, I want to help others”, says the beautiful and brave drummer.
The trauma of being sexually abused is unfathomable. For any child to feel such grief is our collective failure as a society. Despite efforts by governments and international organizations to combat this crime, human trafficking continues to thrive due to its lucrative nature and the complex nature of the issue. Understanding the root causes and dynamics of human trafficking is crucial in developing effective prevention and intervention strategies to combat this modern-day form of slavery.
She Writer Nidhi Raj is a homemaker, storyteller, and mother with a keen interest in women’s issues and international relations.