Sex slavery sounds like something out of the Middle Ages. When women were examined, bargained and sold like meat. While you won’t see that happen so flagrantly today; it’s nonetheless rampant.
‘Prostitution’; or to make it more acceptable and vapid it’s referred to as ‘commercial sex work’, is a thriving industry. While I’m sure some women enter the sex trade willingly, I’ll bet my bottom rupee that majority of them are coerced into it.
Let’s look at the minority who, of their own initiative, enter the trade. How many of these women would be selling their bodies to make money because they can’t find other means of making an income and how many of them do you think enjoy being a ‘commodity’?
Women’s issues is something I feel strongly about and have tried to create awareness and help out in whatever way I can. I’ve written articles about the flaws in our Prevention of Domestic Violence Act and gender based violence– and so recently I was approached by a family friend who asked me if I could help her friend. The friend, who lives in a rural part of the country was being pimped by her husband (a hopeless-case who refuses to go to work). His wife obediently beds clients he finds her. She says it’s the only way she can earn money to provide for their child.
I tried calling up a few NGOs for women in order to find out if they have programmes which help women find work. I tried numbers on websites- some didn’t work and on calling one organisation I was actually hung up on. I gave up on the NGOs and decided to look through for jobs for women that didn’t require O/L qualifications. I managed to find some online; as well as some vocational training courses.
It turned out that the girl in fact wanted to find some other means of earning and was delighted that there was an alternative. Sorting that out is still in progress but the whole episode got me thinking. What do rural women who don’t have access to all this information- alternative work and vocational training courses, do? And don’t let me get started on hopeless NGOs!
There are organisations that help women- training them in sewing and giving them loans to start their own business. But I doubt there are enough of such organisations and how do women who live in rural areas find out about these organisations? If you’ve got any suggestions feel free to post them here, I’d really appreciate some input.