As we progress through the timeline of the history, we narrate to ourselves the stories of great men and women who created an unforgettable standing through their intellect and contribution to the society. While some ventured into creating new through discoveries, others lead he society from the lower levels of social cohesion into higher levels of social behavior. Thus our mainstream history essentially talks about how these legends spur the progression of societal development. However, what we forget is that there are thousands, in fact millions, of souls whose lives are spoiled by the predators in our society. Often neither the mainstream history nor the folklore ever remembers them and the agony that they went through.
In the recent reports published across several media outlets, the issue of sex trafficking and sexual offenses continues to be one of the largest social menaces that our country faces today. It is true that sexual exploitation, particularly that of women existed from ancient times across the civilizations and India was not an exception. Prostitution and commercialization of women’s body would continue to prevail till the humanity gets wiped out of the planet; it is a social reality with the least possibility of extinction. However, what brings in most worry for a civilized society is the trafficking of the women and minors and the exploitation of their bodies against their consent.
Sex trafficking is a serious concern that must be addressed with high priority as the data generated by various governmental agencies and not-for-profit organizations points to the fact that the trafficking is one rise; women are merely used as the income-generating sources for a set of individuals who engage in those evil, unlawful activity. According to the data enumerated in the recent issue of India Today magazine (Vol XLII, No. 46), it is reported that nearly 3 million sex workers are there in the country of which nearly half (1.2 million) are minors. The most disturbing fact amongst all is that more than 75% of this population is trafficked against their will and without their consent. The total size of this illegal market is around ₹2 lakh crore, which is nearly 1.5% of Indian GDP and more than what we spend for research in higher education. The stories of several women across the country who were kidnapped or lured into the sex industry points to the fact that how fragile our legal system is and how we fail every time in letting one of sisters into the hands of these perverts who find joy in abusing women for their satisfaction. The most disheartening of all is the fact that often the ones who are expected to take care of the law often break the law. In several such cases, the police officials themselves were involved in protecting the interests of the perpetrators than resolving the agony of the victims.
One might ask why the trend is increasing amidst all measures taken to end this menace. One of the reasons that the sex trafficking flourishes in the country is due to the peculiar nature of social security that these vulnerable sections enjoy. For instance, according to the research reports on the commercial sexual economy, more than 50% of the victims lost their father or the bread-earner of the family whereas nearly 48% were not even taken any forms of formal education. It could be observed that for those men and women who engage in the sale of flesh, it is easier to trap such illiterate, underprivileged victims, who barely know what their future would be, once they are into the sex industry. Similarly the ease of attracting such victim lies with the fact that even the law often fails to do justice to these sections of the society; many a times, law is for those who has the privileges of money and other luxuries of the life.
We have been talking about awareness campaigns and programmes to end this issue for long, nothing has changed. We still hear about several unlucky women and children who lost their dreams because of the perverts in the society. Essentially, the nature of rule of law incentivizes those who are liable to repeat the same offence again and again; stretched out legal proceedings, devoid of any deadline, make the whole process a nightmare for the victims and a source of relief for culprits. Apparently, what the circumstances of our times demand is the kind of laws which are today considered‘barbaric’. Perhaps there is a need for harsher laws so that even the thought of possible repercussion would prevent people from engaging in deviant behavior.
-Contributed by Jiss Palelil
Picture Credits: mtviewmirror.com