We are learning plenty.
As access to the media falls to more of the population of India, Iraq and Syria through small digital devices like smart phones, more news of what is really happening inside the country is filtering out. Every week we hear of another serious child rape.
It appears that India has been plagued with rape cases in the last year. So too has The Congo, Kenya, Syria and Iraq. However, that is only the tip of the iceberg.
Gender violence in India was speculated around the world as the worst anywhere in peace time. Some academics muse that until the child sex trade is ended in India, it will not end anywhere.
Over 60 million women are missing from India’s population, an accumulated number based on those children who should have lived to become grown women by this time..
If you are born a girl to parents of tea-pickers in Assam in northeastern India (earning as little as 1.50 US dollars a day) there is a good chance you will be sold to a local “recruitment agent” by your loved ones for around 50 dollars, and the agent will sell you on to a city “employer” for up to 800 dollars and into a life of abuse and suffering.
Almost 80 per cent of all worldwide trafficking is for sexual exploitation, with an estimated 1.2 million children being bought and sold into sexual slavery every year, and India is the poisonous hub, for Asia and, some say, the world. End trafficking in India and the worldwide epidemic in human suffering caused by this crime will be greatly reduced.
Each year millions of women and children are trafficked in India which, according to the US State Department, is “a source, destination and transit” country for “men women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking”. While the vast majority (90 per cent), remain within the country, moving from one state to another, some find their way to the Gulf states, as well as America and Europe.
Among the reams of material on trafficking in India, there is a staggering government statistic that:
a child goes missing somewhere in India every eight minutes.
Young women and girls trafficked for sex may have been enticed, deceived or kidnapped. They are forced to have sex with clients, anywhere between ten and twenty-five a day. If they try to resist, they may be beaten mercilessly with belts, sticks or iron rods until they submit. Alternatively they may be drugged of forced to drink alcohol until senseless.
As well as the humility and indignity, and denial of freedom, there is also a significant risk of violence against the women and girls from both clients and brothel owners. Trafficked sex workers are threatened if they should try to leave or escape. There is increased risk of illness and death due to sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. When a sex worker becomes ill, they are likely to be cast aside and left to suffer since they are now useless to their employer.
Some brothel owners and traffickers want to breed the girls. Their sons become bonded labourers, and their daughters become prostitutes. In addition, the owner now has hostages to force the mother to cooperate.
According to Indian government figures there are 3 million prostitutes in India, and of these 1.2 million are children. Some NGOs believe that there may be as many as 15 million sex workers in India. Either way, the proportion of those who are trafficked, coerced, deceived or forced by circumstances is considerable.
Although most sex-trafficking is to supply girls for brothels and escort agencies, increasingly trafficking is taking place for pornography, including filming and live feeds for the internet, and to feed the growing appetite for sex-tourism. There is also a trade in boys for sexual exploitation.
The vast majority of those trafficked for sex are Dalits or Tribals (from India’s indigenous tribes), who fall below the caste system. Most trafficking is internal to India, much of it being interstate, or even within a state, such as the large numbers from rural West Bengal trafficked into Kolkata There are some areas and routes where this trade is flourishing, for example, from the north east of the country into Delhi or Mumbai. There are also large numbers of Dalits and Tribals – women and children – trafficked into India particularly from Nepal and Bangladesh.
Sunny Hundal, author of the e-book India Dishonored: Behind a Nation’s War on Women, suggests these women were aborted, killed once born, died of neglect because they were girls, or possibly murdered because they did not pay enough dowry at marriage. He explains where the number 60 million came from:
That number isn’t a wild exaggeration or a figure thoughtlessly plucked out of the air, but a matter of demographics. As far back as 1991, the economist Amartya Sen pointed out that Asia was missing 100 million women because of sex-selection and the poor attention paid to women.
In 2005, it was estimated at 50 million Indian women in the New York Times. But this isn’t a new problem.
In 1991, the Indian census showed an unprecedented drop of women in the sex-ratio. After running tests to check whether women had been under-counted, they found that a massive explosion in sex-selection during the 80s had led to a sharp drop in the number of girls being born. A report by Action Aid in 2009 (“Disappearing Daughters” ) found that in some villages in the state of Punjab, there were as few as 300 girls for every 1,000 boys.
Overall, India had 37.25 million fewer women than men according to the 2011 Census.
To match the sexes equally and then increase the number of women to match the natural sex-ratio would require around 60 to 70 million women. That is the number of women missing. This phenomenon cannot be called anything less than genocide.
Why is this not a bigger issue in India? Hundal claims it is because of the Indian culture and uses the government’s reaction to gang rape as evidence.
There were many protests by civilians after the many recent gang rapes, but politicians do not respond to the outrage, merely blaming all issues on the “western lifestyle.”
Communication through affordable smart phones in the hands of at least a few women in every rural community who are able to access each other in India and the world through social media and email plus some rising incomes and a few more freedoms for Indian women have led to more backlash through these rapes and assaults.
The culture of India demeans Indian women. (https://rinj.org/interactive/?page_id=610)
The RINJ Foundation AGAIN (https://rinj.org/interactive/?page_id=688) asks the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moono, with all due respect, to appoint an investigation mission to India without delay.
Most certainly there is clear and unmitigated evidence of a rampage of atrocities against women and children in India. (https://rinj.org/interactive/?page_id=463)
In the age of the internet where people, not governments so much, but people live in a virtually borderless environment, some form of international accountability for human rights atrocities must be available as an intervener to which large communities can escalate their complaints.
The latest example of human atrocities stem from a pervasive rape culture in India and the evidence suggests a putrid moral rot at the core of this nation’s society so much so that the probability of escalation is high without any sign of government leadership to mitigate the crisis. (In fact the government may be partly responsible.)