The Trauma in Trafficking

Ranita Sarma works as a Relationship officer at Oasis India, Bangalore and is passionate about supporting humanitarian issues like child rights. Read her thoughts below on human trafficking. 

Human trafficking is a serious global issue. Increasingly referred to as the “modern-day slavery”, human trafficking has stimulated rapid increase of anti-trafficking laws, and has countries devoting resources to eradicate this problem. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), approximately 80% of trafficking of persons across the world is done for sexual exploitation and bonded labour. For this prime reason, Asia is considered as the hub of this crime in the world.

According to UNODC, 76% of people trafficked in the country were women and girls. West Bengal is the highest recorded state with maximum number of cases. As per the statistics of the government, in 2011 about 35,000 children were reported missing and more than 11,000 of them were from West Bengal. Rajasthan stands second in child trafficking and Maharashtra in trafficking of women. Karnataka is the third highest state, being the source and the destination for human trafficking. So, why is human trafficking increasing in India? With the fundamental theory of demand and supply, men generally migrate to major commercial cities for work and hence, the demand for commercial sex has increased. Another reason is economic injustice and poverty where women and girls born into a poor family are at higher risk of being sold or lured into ‘easy money’, especially in North-East India. The other known causes are social inequality, gender preferences, corruption, forced marriages and bonded labour.

In the reality of trafficking, many victims are lost in the brutality of the system while others find solace in death. Victims experience emotional, physical and psychological trauma while undergoing the phases of trafficking: recruitment, transport and exploitation. They also experience lack of sleep, lack of control, limited freedom, limited medical facilities, lack of control over clientele, intensity of working hours, and lack of choice in choosing an alternate path of living life. They deal with threats of harm which spurs a great deal of mental health issues such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Understanding the cruelty and viciousness of trafficking, it is important to ask the question ‘why does trafficking in persons happen in the first place and how it leads to human insecurity?’ The intensity of this barbarity also needs to be taken into account to stop trafficking.

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Dear friends and patrons,As 2022 draws to a close, I would like for us to look back at a year that heralded in new directions for Oasis India: year one of the 5-year strategic plan of new partnerships, a year of social enterprise, and organisational sustainability.While it was certainly challenging in many ways, it also showed how strong our commitment to the vision and mission are as an organisation – be it as board members, supporters, members of senior management, the national leadership team, or project staff.We can take pride in the fact that we resumed the annual Mukthi Bike Challenge this year, launched Oasis India’s 5-year strategic plan for 2022–2027, and started a new integrated community empowerment project in Assam—Oasis Academy Guwahati and Football for Life (FFL). We also initiated potential partnership discussions with PCI-Mizoram for anti-human trafficking and Thrive for Good under food security, etc. These great achievements lays the foundation for our work in the upcoming new year.There were notable life-changing stories of beneficiaries in each of Oasis India’s hubs and the many other challenges we overcame as a team. Successes achieved in a time when we were forced to adapt to very adverse circumstances So, I want to thank all our staff for the hard work and commitment they have shown over the past year. Our combined strength is what makes us flourish as an organisation.Thank you, our supporters, for walking this journey of growth and development hand in hand with us. As you celebrate Christmas with friends and family, I hope you will look back on the year with the same sense of accomplishment and joy that we all feel at Oasis India.I wish you and your family a happy Christmas season and a prosperous 2023! Best regards,Mangneo LhungdimExecutive Director,Oasis India