Human trafficking in focus at Delhi festival

Human trafficking in focus at Delhi festival

Often abused, raped, beaten black and blue and exploited in all possible ways - victims and survivors of rape and prostitution are now coming out openly to fight human trafficking, the world's fastest growing criminal industry, braving odds like stigma and social isolation.

Women and girls who have survived prostitution as well as those who are victims of the flesh trade are participating in "Traffic Jam: Red Light Blues" a five-day festival here, which is showcasing exquisite handicrafts, artwork, jewellery, crafts, tribal foods and other products all made by them.

"The products are all made by the women and girls who have overcome trauma and various forms of physical, mental and emotional abuse.

"The most effective and sustainable solutions to end sex trafficking come by increasing choices for at-risk girls and women and by empowering women," says Ruchira Gupta, founder of Apne Aap Women Worldwide, which is partnering the festival.

The idea is to raise social awareness about the need to bring about a change in the law to introduce arrest and severe punishment of the entire chain of traffickers and punishment and education programs for customers of the flesh trade business.

According to the National Human Rights Commission, the average age of girls being pulled into prostitution is 9-13 years of age and till date human trafficking industry has enslaved over thirty million people, of whom half the number are children.

"Currently in most cases women and girls are at receiving end of the law and those who are accountable notably the pimps etc go scot free. Women who are resisting sex slavery and those who have escaped it are raising their voice to enforce strict laws to punish the guilty," says Ruchira.

Meanwhile another NGO Commotion and Connect is using the festival to highlight discrimination towards the North East.

"We want to promote unity and sense of togetherness among all members of the society all over the country. So various music and dance shows, talks and drama we will highlight this issue, especially of discrimination faced by people from the North East," according to Eunice Pamei of Commotion and Connect.

The "Traffic Jam: Red Light Blues" festival will also feature live music, painting, choreography and street theatre performances at Dilli Haat here.

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