Preyed on vulnerability…

The word trafficking gives us images in our head of kids and adults being locked up in vans and rooms, crying for help and release. But did you know that around 70% of them voluntarily walk into the traps of traffickers, lured by promises of freedom, good jobs, decent married life etc.

A small prelude to the trafficking scene in most parts of West Bengal and Bihar goes something like this. A guy is prowling around in an impoverished area, observing the behaviors and happenings of various households. He then notices a home of a girl aged around 16. The father of the girl is an alcoholic and mother in a mentally unstable condition. The girl is violently thrashed by her father daily after drinking a lot and shes forced into domestic labor. After observing this for many days, the guy slowly approaches the girl when she’s out of her home and befriends her. He listens to her woes patiently and comforts her. He then gives her the liberating idea of running away from home with him, to a wonderful ‘la la land’ where she can be free from all these miseries and he would take care of her for the rest of his life.

Now, if you put yourself in her shoes, you would feel that anywhere is better than home. And thus begins the worst journey that she could have ever imagined. One who has not even seen the borders of her village, is taken across states and sometimes even across the country border and sold off to a sex trader. This is the story of little ‘Menaka Das’ who was rescued from a brothel in Bihar where she was sold off by that guy who had promised her love forever.

There are numerous kids and young adults across the world who face domestic/sexual abuse and violence at homes which forces them to run away, only to get caught in the hands of traffickers. Menaka was rescued in a series of raids along with two other kids who hailed from her locality and were taken safely to a care home. The kind of trauma that they underwent is unimaginable and nourishing them back to decent physical and mental health is a herculean task indeed.

So, to stop trafficking, among all other things that need to be eradicated, abuse at home is one thing that needs to be identified early and addressed in a proper manner.


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