South Asia: The Bigger Picture
At least 2,25,000 women and children in Southeast Asia are trafficked annually.
In this part of the world, human trafficking consists of forced labor and sexual abuse and exploitation. Thailand and Malaysia are regarded as the hub for all forms of sexual exploitation, while Indonesia scores high for forced labor. Estimates say 10000 laborers are forced into labor annually in the region.
While poverty and globalization are key causes of sex trafficking in South Asia, industrialization in the mid 20th century, post-war military bases and growing tourism are additional factors contributing to the already flourishing sex industry. Just like Thailand and Malaysia, India too depicts a similar picture, but with a slight change: prostitution is legal in India, but its related activities, like brothel culture or pimping is not.
India is home to 25 lakh prostitutes from nearly 3 lakh brothels across 1100 red-light areas throughout the country. In West Bengal alone, 42% of minor girls are forced into the flesh trade by traffickers.
However, the law regarding prostitution remains vague – of late, Supreme Court of India has asked the Government to ponder on legalizing prostitution, even if they cannot curb it right from the roots.
So what are your thoughts? Did you know that the problem was this big? Stay tuned for the second installment; it’s coming soon!