Born with Dignity and Rights

One of the articles in the Universal Declaration of Rights is that “All human beings are born free and equal with dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

When being born free and equal is a right, why are human trafficking and other forms of social evil still prevalent? It is because, although individuals are born free and equal – they are bound by poverty. In India, 73 million people live in extreme poverty as of 2018.1

Hailing from Jharkhand, North India – Ashik’s* family lived in poverty for generations. He grew up with four siblings under impoverished conditions and had no access to education at his village. His father, a farmer who worked hard to make ends meet, often found it difficult o sustain his family.

So when Ashik’s favourite uncle visited them and offered him a job in Mumbai, Ashik jumped at the prospect. He was more than eager to help his family and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

It was only later when he arrived in Mumbai that he realised his uncle worked as a pimp in one of the biggest red-light areas (RLAs). And now he was thrust into the job too.

Like Ashik there are many young men who come to Mumbai from villages in extreme poverty, desperately seeking for jobs. This desperation is time and again exploited by those running the brothels.

How can we help young men like Ashik live a life of dignity?

At Oasis we help pimps who wish to leave the RLA find other employment opportunities. We network with job placement agencies that train and provide employment. During one of our outreach visits, our staff met Ashik who expressed his desire to quit his job as a pimp. We invited him to our drop-in centre to attend counselling and life skill sessions. In a few months not only did Ashik leave the RLA, he is now helping other young pimps who find themselves trapped with no scope of employment outside. With career guidance from our staff, Ashik went back to his village and opened a small food stall of his own. His thriving business motivated him to start a food stall in the city as well.

He says, “I hope to help and protect those like me to live a respectful life.” While his struggle to achieve a secure life is not over yet, he continues to fight for the rights of those like him.

*Name changed


Previous reading
Do adults have more rights than children?
Next reading
Inequality – Mother of all problems