Dominicans around the world are uniting to shine a light on human trafficking in India where there are more than one million child prostitutes. Girls as young as seven years old are forced into the nightmare of the commercial sex trade. Girls, who should be in school, are being sold, starved, locked up and raped. Being sold into a brothel in India is a death sentence: only one percent escape or are rescued. Poverty, living on the streets and lack of education for women and girls increase the risk of being forced into the commercial sex trade.
Al Jazeera reports an increase in child pornography in India that has become an $8-billion-dollar industry. The US Department of Justice advises that in USA and in all countries: “The continuous production and distribution of child pornography increases the demand for new and more egregious images, perpetuating the continued molestation of child victims, as well as the abuse of new children.” There is no international law to check the data service providers responsible for online child pornography.
Victims suffer loss, disorientation, sorrow, anger, fear, frustration and depression. Sex trafficking survivors experience social discrimination and rejection. In their own voices, survivors in India said in a confidential study:
“After your honor is gone, nobody will ask about you, not even people in your village.”
“They don’t give respect to girls like me, even to small girls.”
“People should understand us…They should treat us like human beings. Not judging.”
“The world is not safe. I went through suffering. All this happened to me because of no protection. My mother and father, they don’t like me. They left me…To be abandoned was the most difficult thing in my life….All this happened to me because of no protection.”
“So many girls lost their identities, like so many girls lost their families, or so many girls are sold…There should be people who should do work for them…like true love.”
Psalm 146 tells us that our God keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry and sets captives free. May it be so in India. Please join us in prayer and share this story with others. Ask friends, family members, church groups to pray. See if you can get a prayer intention in your parish mass or church bulletin. A small action on your part is more than a “drop in the bucket”; combined with others it could create a sea of change.