Want to hear my story?
by Mila NY on March 19, 2017 - 8:46pm
Want to hear my story?
India is a rising power, but its rural villagers are vulnerable to trafficking due to poverty. Government data has shown that over 40% of human trafficking cases involve children in 2015, but it increased by 2016, with 20’000 women and children being equally victimized. The Eastern states of West Bengal and Assam are especially prone to human trafficking, with the highest number of victims recorded and an increasing rate of disappearing girls and boys. Children, being gullible, are often lured by strangers who promise them a lavish life in urban cities but are instead sold into modern slavery. Modern slavery can consist of forced labour or sexual exploitation among many other types of abuse. Knowing that the social issue of trafficking is taking prominence, Indian campaigners are acting to help children by providing educative comic books. These illustrated stories are distributed across thousands of schools to educate the youth and raise awareness on human trafficking; My Choices Foundation, for example, has already published a series of comics called “The Life of a Safe Village” in 500 villages. Miguel Quah, a worker at Assam-based Utsah (non-profit anti-trafficking organization), says, “There are more colors, more expressions, [comics are] effective means of communication, especially for children”. Child rights campaigners believe them to be an effective tool for prevention as they empower children to protect themselves. Meanwhile, Save the Children, founded in New Delhi is spreading messages in local communities through children who have been rescued from traffickers. Its goal is to work as child right advocates and build a network that teach children about their rights from modern slavery. Manab Ray from Save the Children explains, “Children we found are the best informers, in terms of knowing the issues, because they face it themselves, they can have the natural ability of identifying the traffickers and all”.
Nowadays, modern technology and network have allowed citizens of the earth to work united and cooperate to create change. This phenomenon is what we call “New Power”, because how people contribute and participate all in all allows a shift in the outcome of a situation— such situation can revolve around social issues or goals that multiple individuals agree with or strive for. New Power does not revolve around a company or an organization where there is a head, nor does it revolve around a sole provider. It is a network of people who work together by both receiving and providing. The human trafficking issue in India can indeed expand on their organizations and have others involved, if it wants to become a New Power which can be effective in saving victims and condemning traffickers. Organizations like My Choices Foundation, Utsah, and Save the Children can work together to create a wider network against trafficking. As I mentionned already, My Choices Foundation is the comic industry that raises awareness on the problem. The child rights campaigners at Utsah, who approve of the comics, have already envisioned and dealt with many children victims. They can contribute to My Choices Foundation by creating comics that are based on real testimonies or illustrate to children their rights— make it clear that all children know what their rights are. Save the Children, too, can help write comics because it partners with victims and travel to various local communities. My Choices Foundation should be open to everyone; it should work like a database where victims share their stories and child right advocates teach children about their rights. This way, others can be aware of human trafficking, work together to save victims, and then write new stories. Victims who are saved can publish their story through My Choices Foundation or work with Save the Children to testify. If individuals suspect that someone may be a victim or offender, they can contact Utsah, and Utsah can work with Save the Children to retrieve the victims. To make things more clear, I believe that there should be a network that combines all these organizations, instead of having one particular organization that works for a specific cause. A huge network with mass participation will allow, in short, 1)people to post about their stories or human rights, 2)publishers to make comics about these stories for educational purposes, 3)people who become aware of human trafficking post concerns and suspects, 4)organizations view what people posted and save those who are victims, 5)victims who are saved testify their story and post their story on the database, or a listener of their testimony does it in their stead, and 6)the cycle continues. The outcome is that more people can be involved and combat trafficking and, hopefully, combat the root of the problem (e.g. poverty).