HUMANIZING VICTIMS OF SEX TRAFFICKING

Immanuel Kant’s Moral philosophy is credited for emphasizing the importance of human life and treating them as an end in themselves. In his doctrine, he specifically says quote-unquote ” It is not appropriate to use persons as though they were things purely at our disposal and without a will of their own”. While we ponder upon this and implement this in our daily life can the same be said about the victims of sex trafficking? Should they also be valued as having human worth? The sex trafficking racket is a discreet booming industry with a network ranging from your local neighborhood to the various cartels functioning over the world. These victims are not only assigned a value in terms of money but also seen as a commodity to be used at the abuser’s pleasure. Surveys conducted around the world show that the average age of trafficked victims to be between 18-34 with the predators targeting children at a mere age of 9-18. These helpless victims are lured with the promise of stable income, marriage, and emotionally manipulated into being dependent on their traffickers. With the onset of globalization, it was safe to assume that it would lead to the availability of goods world over but nobody could foresee that human beings could also be trafficked and sold like goods in the same manner. The critically acclaimed readers digest which is well known for its inspirational real-life stories reported one such incident in which a gutsy young woman helped rehabilitate the sex workers in her village area and gave them stable jobs. When interviewed about the motive behind her actions she said quote-unquote” They are not just girls. They are my daughters”.These women are treated as an outcast and shunned by society, the very same society in which they were born ultimately disowned them. These hard-hitting facts were revealed to the public sometime in 2008. She even has opened Astha Nivas, a children’s home to shelter the victims of sexual exploitation who are as young as three. This empowering real-life story is about none other than Sunitha Krishnan, a social activist, and Padma Shri awardee. BBC was accounted for interviewing the case of a young Indonesian woman Shandra Woworuntu who was caught in this sex trafficking industry after being deceived by her traffickers. She started an organization, Mentari, which helps survivors reintegrate into the community, and connects them to the job market. These victims go through severe trauma and some even keep on reliving their painful past day after day. “It’s hard to be accepted by the society” “We were treated as commodities before but now we are given even worse treatments” are some of the dilemmas these helpless victims have to face. It is because of some of these brave hearts like Sunitha Krishnan and Shandra Woworuntu that these young girls are given a second chance at life. The present situation is far grimmer. Because of the rising pandemic, these victims of sex trafficking have it worse. With no means to get a job nor have access to necessities, some of them revert to the sex industry to make ends meet. Their only source of help now remains with the NGOs which strive to help get them out of the murky waters.