Put the Right, back into Rights.
Three times a year, there are days set aside by the sex worker community to make a concerted effort to call public attention to governments’ systematic denial of their rights, implemented by often-brutal police and supported by prohibitionists who want to see their trade eradicated no matter how many of them are hurt or even killed by the process.
However, Sex worker rights are human rights, and there can never be too many voices speaking up for them, nor too many occasions on which to speak.
Ruchira Gupta: The icon we called ‘Kiddy’
When the author Subir Roy met Ruchira Gupta at The Telegraph, 35 years ago, she was not quite 20 and not a graduate.
Today she is the indomitable founder of Apne Aap, which has touched the lives of over 21,000 women who were victims of sex trafficking.
Sunitha Krishnan: Rape survivor to savior
Ever since she co-founded Prajwala (eternal flame) in 1996 with Brother Jose Vetticatil she has braved threats and physical assaults – one particular attack left her with an irreparably damaged ear – but an undaunted Krishnan has managed to rescue some 8,000 girls. Those rescued are rehabilitated through vocational training, jobs and marriage.
Roma Debabrata : Helping the child return home.
Roma Debabrata officially started STOP in 1998, her mission is to stop trafficking and oppression through education, legal movements and rescuing children and women from various forms of slavery and trafficking. She not only rescues girls but also provides a safe home for them to heal and rehabilitate as well as receive an education and life skills.
Anoyara Khatun : Once trafficked, this teen, is now an international child rights activist
When Anoyara Khatun was 18-year-old girl, she was trafficked from the remote islands of Sundarbans in West Bengal. She is today an international child rights crusader and has been invited twice to speak at the United Nations.
Having met UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Bill Gates and Melinda Gates, Anoyara Khatun is now a hero in her Sandeshkhali village in North 24 Parganas district.
As a youth leader guided by international NGO ‘Save the Children,’ she is now leading 80 groups of children, each having about 10-20 members who are fighting against evils like child marriage, trafficking, child labour, besides other issues related to health and education.
Pankaj Johar: He showcased human trafficking and its most brutal side.
His film ‘Cecilia’ puts a face to human trafficking, and it belongs to a 14-year-old corpse. It is about Cecilia Hasda who came to work at the household of filmmaker Pankaj Johar and his family in Delhi in 2014.Her teenaged daughter had been trafficked to Delhi without Hasda’s knowledge to work with a family and had died in mysterious circumstances. The 81-minute film was premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in mid-November. Pankaj stood by Hasda till her case was resolved.
In the Mewat district of Haryana (India) women are sold as sex slaves to men and then sold again in a ‘bizarre form of currency’. For many years now, girls (some barely in their teens) are trafficked from the poor regions of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, eastern Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal with promises of employment or marriage and are sold in this district. These girls are locally called ‘Paros’. A Paro literally means ‘one from Yamuna par’, i.e. ‘one from across the river Yamuna’. The number of Paros in Mewat is estimated to be anywhere between 15000 to 50000.
Over 14,000 victims or ‘ Paros’ were rescued from trafficking for prostitution in the past two years…and the fight is still on.