Wednesday, September 03, 2014

On trafficking and exploitation of women

By sheer coincidence, I have been coming across written material related to trafficking and exploitation of women over the last couple of days. I read this piece in Livemint that provides insight on emotional, financial and practical dynamics of trafficking. It is a very well-written and hence a very depressing article. 
I  hadn't yet managed to get over it, when I came across another news article which reported that a once promising actress has been arrested and sent to women's home after she turned to prostitution because she ran out of options to earn her and her family's living. This piece is even more unsettling for so many different reasons. Firstly, it revealed the identity of the victim and hence has possibly (and I am not sure) disregarded the victims right to keep identity confidential . 
Secondly, the "pimp" with who she was caught "was sent to jail". It gives me a feeling that there is an element of finality to it. Criminal sent to jail, victim sent to women's home and the case is closed. If it is true, it is a pity because the better informed would know that the rot runs much deeper than that (as highlighted by the aforementioned article in Livemint). 
Thirdly, and this is closely related to the second, the victim has mentioned on record that she is neither the first nor the only one to have taken this route. This reminds me of a TED talk by Sunita Krishnan which tries to emphasize even though these show up as isolated incidents that we come across from time to tome, they are  actually a manifestation of one staggeringly lucrative organized crime (one-fifth of India's GDP).

Clearly, cleaning up this mess is long overdue and our community would do well for itself to take a more collective action. But, in the light of proximity between failure to make it big in the movie industry and being forced into prostitution, would it be excessive to claim that the cinema industry is morally more obligated and better placed to start an initiative and call the rest of the society address this issue ? After all, we all know what Amir Khan has done in Satyamev Jayate and his nephew has taken action on of what is clearly an issue of a much lesser degree.