The Slave Women Business
Women, sexual exploitation, women trafficking, trafficking.
“When my husband died of tuberculosis, I got in a lot of debt. As a field worker I was earning 30 rupees per day, so I decided to try my luck in the city. In Bangalore, a gentleman from my town hired me as a builder, but he kept the money I was earning", says Laksmi Devi.
Her story is being rewritten in India with different names and faces, but it always comes down to the same pattern: emigration due to poverty and lack of work alternatives and the illegal trafficking of humans with the purpose of sexual, reproduction or production slavery as a consequence of the vulnerability of this collective.
Every day more than 200 women and girls are introduced to the human trafficking business in India.
“In Anantapur there is no work for more than 10 or 12 days out of the month, due to being a severely drought affected area, this forces people to migrate, explains Anitha Boya, Coordinator of the Gandlapenta Training Center.
According to the Department of Women and Children Development (DWCD), the routes originated in Andhra Pradesh go through the closest metropolis like Bangalore and Hyderabad, but Delhi is the final destination. "The traffickers choose women that have lots of debt. Some of them are sent to work in construction or housekeeping and others go straight to prostitution", says Anitha Boya.
In the 90's, the Vicente Ferrer Foundation (VFF) began a program to fight illegal trafficking of women in Kadiri, border region where the mafia, which still has high rates of female migration, prostitution and HIV. To reverse these indices, the Foundation has centered its efforts in preventing illegal human trafficking. "We have implemented different mechanisms, like theater plays to sensibilize, meetings and workshops. Through them we try to explain to the women what can they expect when they get to their destination", explains Doreen Reddy, Director of the Women Sector. In addition to the assessment, the VFF offers financial support through the Developing Fund for Women so they can start small businesses; and a nutrition program aimed to single mothers with two children and widows.
Training Workshops to avoid migration
In 2006 the foundation established the Training Center in Gandlapenta not only to mitigate the need of migration, but also to favor the reintegration process into the community for those women that migrated or fell victims of human trafficking networks.
Since the Center's Opening, more than 800 women have received Occupational Training in a variety of workshops, for example binding, sewing, embroidery, incense or cleaning products manufactory.
“Life in Bangalore was very complicated. When I was able to return, the VFF employees came to my house, we talked about my situation and they taught me work skills at the training center", says Lakshmi Devi. Learning skills strengthens their self esteem and respect among the community, besides, it ensures income generation.
"I encourage women to defend their rights and to fight for equality. When they talk in a group they get relaxed", says Anitha Boya. Now, Lakshmi Devi works like a binding operator. She has been able to pay 40.0000 rupees in hospital debt and now her children are studying. "That is my greatest satisfaction", affirms Lakshmi.
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