Monday, July 27, 2009

Help us Fight The Cause

Now the time has come to stand up for human dignity and decency and to change history for the good. You need to join the fight against sex traffickers and exploiters.
A Hand Today will give rise to hundred tomorrow, We thank all of you, who have joined hand with Shapath Team in helping us making this distant dream come true, of "Giving a New Life to these Women, who once lived a life of a daughter, a sister but today are nothing but a Lifeless Life, which dies each time a stranger comes for pleasure, It's her Soul who hurts and heart which cries, with not even a single pain on Face".


Sunday, July 26, 2009


She stands on the pavement, away from the street light, decked in loud attire and gaudy makeup, and calls out to you amongst laughter and giggles. She smiles at you, through her lipstick caked lips. You cringe in embarrassment, and look away. But wait, and look beyond the smile. Do you see that the smile does not reach her eyes, the teardrops that have dried up, the pain, the hopelessness in her stance? Perhaps not. Welcome to the dark and less understood world of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is nothing but a modern day practice of slavery, a system we very proudly proclaim that we have abolished. It is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, based on the recruitment, harbouring, and transportation of people solely for the purpose of exploitation. Every year traffickers generate billions of dollars in ‘business’, at the expense of victimizing millions of people around the world.

The victims are denied any rights or freedom. Many of them are saddled with debts of the price that they were bought for by the brothel owners. Added to that is the accumulation of interest and living charges. What is ironical is that they pay for the fact that they are a part of the brothels, not somewhere they ever intended to be in the first place. Thus freedom from their hell holes is nothing but a mirage.

Sunita* was just 15 when her parents met a kind stranger who offered Sunita work in the city. He accompanied her and even gave her refreshments during the journey. The next thing Sunita remembered was waking up in a brothel in the infamous red light area of Budhwar Peth in Pune. She was “made compliant” by repeated torture and no food. She attempted to commit suicide by consumption of rat poison. However, an NGO working in the locality admitted her to the hospital and “rescued” her. Her first words after regaining consciousness were “Don’t I even have the freedom to die?”

What brings about such utter despair? Imagine yourself, not as a human being but as a commodity, being sold and bought, and changed from one hand to other... where you ‘work’ not out of choice but by force.

Year after year, existing in the living hell, the victims are drained of all emotions, and feelings... Many turn to addictions like alcohol and tobacco, to escape their bitter reality.

And this is just one dimension of the human exploitation. For many of them, who struggle and try to return to the mainstream, life after escape is even worse. Society frowns upon the victims and is wary of any interactions with them. While sympathy is on offer, offers for livelihood are very rare. Rejected by the society, many of them return to the dark alleyways of hell that they had escaped.

And so we walk past ‘them’… the ‘ones’ standing on the pavement… we snigger at ‘them’, because we are the ‘respected ones’ in the society. But stop… and ask yourself, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? It’s time that we wake up to reality of human trafficking. Precious time has been lost, in being a passive observer, but not anymore. It’s time to take a pledge, an oath to help the victims. They don’t need your sympathy; they need your support- a helping hand, to help them fight their battle.

We at SHAPATH have taken an oath – a SHAPATH to fight against human trafficking- a growing evil in the society. To fulfil this oath, we are launching a citywide movement to create awareness among the residents of Pune to engineer a change in the perspective of the society towards the victims of human trafficking and educating school and college students about human trafficking.