by Rachel Allison
When I read last week from United Families Weekly News Feed about The Face of Modern Slavery By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF I was reminded of what I had seen and felt years ago at the UN Conferences when desperate men and women would come to plead their frustration and helplessness in regards to the sex trafficking they saw and experienced in their native countries.
I was shocked to see live footage of courageous men who, with video cameras in hand, took the viewer through the narrow winding crowded paths that led to a brothel in Calcutta, India. The keeper of the gate did her best to shut out the cameras, but without men to help, she was helpless. We saw 5 young girls caged like animals in a prison the size of a washing machine or clothes dryer box. We saw the blank stares from these young girls, as well as those assigned to small rooms where men came hour after hour to satisfy their sexual cravings.
Shortly after arriving at the brothel, men did come to kick out the intruders, but it was too late. The images were recorded. The men didn’t confiscate the camera nor the film. They just shoved and man-handled the camera man and narrator until they were forced to leave.
The documentary told of taking the footage to the local police who did nothing, even when they were told that the girls in the brothels were being held captive against their will, and that they were all minors.
We learned that the police are part of the problem. In essence they feel that these young girls are providing an important service to the men of the city. There was nothing wrong with what was going on…it is an age-old tradition that is part of their culture, and they didn’t want to be bothered by these men and their high-minded ideas. In fact at the end of the video, we learned that the narrator of the film was killed two weeks after taking the film to the local police. His murderer was never caught.
At this same UN side event we learned that women go to the rural areas where poverty is rampant and ask parents to allow their daughters to break out of their situation by working in the homes of good people needing domestic help. These trusting parents turn their young daughters over to these women, and when they don’t hear from their daughters, they are told they ran away from their employment and cannot be found.
One such situation involved the young daughter of the villages’ local policeman. When his daughter was not heard from he went to find her. After weeks of searching he found her in one of these disgusting brothels. She was pregnant, but she didn’t have any of the life-threatening diseases that so many of these young girls contract. She was one of the lucky ones to have been found and brought home.
Some of these girls are taken to other countries where they can’t communicate. They are helpless in their quest to escape. After months of being raped over and over again, all eventually contract tuberculosis, venereal disease, or other life-threatening illnesses or they become pregnant. What happens to them at that point? They are thrown out into the streets to wander and fend for themselves in a foreign and adverse environment.
We shudder, but it happens every day. How depraved the societies of the world have become! Would the reader be surprised to learn that there is sex-trafficking taking place right here in the United States? There is. We heard the testimony of one young woman from New York City, who after being raped repeatedly by an uncle, left home because there was no one there that would protect her. Pimps picked up on her situation the minute they found her roaming the streets. She was used and abused for months before she found shelter and people who helped her escape her desperate situation.
Have things changed? Apparently, it is still taking place. We can do all that we can to protect and educate, but we should also search the internet to learn if there are groups fighting this tragic abuse of young boys and girls. If any find such groups please let UFI know, and we will publish and disseminate the information. If Kristof is right in his calculations,that at least 10 times as many girls are now trafficked into brothels annually as African slaves were transported to the New World in the peak years of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, then this is a cause every person should become aware of and the outcry should be heard around the world.