Emancipating 21st-Century-Slaves

Voicing Freedom
6 min readOct 23, 2021

Courtesy of- Half the Sky

As written on in ,Half The Sky, publication Chapter 1.

“Women might just have something to contribute to civilization other than their vaginas.” — Christopher Buckley, Florence of Arabia

The red-light district in the town of Forbesgunge does not actually have any red lights. Indeed, there is not electricity. The brothels are simply mud-walled family compounds along a dirt path, with thatch-roof shacks set aside for costumers. Children play and scurry along the dirt paths, and a one-room shop on the corner sells cooking oil, rice, and bits of candy. Here, in the impoverished northern Indian state of Bihar, near the Nepalese border, there’s not much else available commercially — except sex.

As Meena Hasina walks down the path, the children pause and stare at her. The adults stop as well, some glowering, and tensions rises. Meena is a lovely, dark - skinned Indian Woman in her thirties with warm, crinkly eyes and a stud in her left nostril. She wears a sari and ties her black hair back, and she seems utterly relaxed as she strolls among people who despise her.

Meena is an Indian Muslim who for years was prostituted in a brothel run by the ,Nutt, a low-caste tribe that controls the local sex trade. The Nutt have traditionally engaged in prostitution and petty crime, and theirs is the world of inter-generational prostitution, in which mothers sell sex and raise their daughters to do the same.

‘I was 8 or 9 years old when I was kidnapped and trafficked,’ Meena begins. She is from a poor family from the Nepal border and was sold to a Nutt clan, then taken to a rural house where the brothel owner kept prepubescent girls until they were mature enough to attract customers. When she was twelve — she remembers that was five months before my first period — she was taken to the brothel. ‘They brought in the first client, and they’d taken lots of money from him.’ Meena recounted, speaking clinically and without emotion. The induction was similar to that endured by Rath in Malaysia, for sex trafficking operates on the same business model worldwide, and the same methods are used to break girls everywhere. ‘I started fighting and crying out, so the he couldn’t succeed.’ Meena said. ‘I resisted so much that that had to return the money to him. And the beat me mercilessly, with a belt, with sticks, with iron rods. The beating was tremendous. But even then I resisted. They showed me swords and said they would kill me if I didn’t agree. Four or five times, they brought customers in, and I still resisted, and they kept beating me. Finally they drugged me: They got me completely drunk.’ Then one of the brothel owners rapes her. She awoke, hungover and hurting, and realized what had happened. ‘Now I am wasted,’ she thought, and so she gave in and stopped fighting costumers.

In Meena’s brothel, the tyrant was the family matriarch, Ainul Bibi. Sometimes Ainul would beat the girls herself, and sometimes she would delegate the task to her daughter-in-law or to her sons, who were brutal in inflicting punishment.

‘I wasn’t even allowed to cry,’ Meena remembers. ‘If even one tear fell, they would beat me. I used to think that it was better to die than to live like this. Once I jumped from the balcony, but nothing happened. I didn’t even break a leg.’

Meena and the other girls were never allowed out of the brothel and were never paid. They typically had ten or more customers a day, seven days a week. If a girl fell asleep or complained about a stomachache, the issue was resolved with a beating. And when a girl showed any hint of resistance, all the girls would be summoned to watch as the recalcitrant one was tied up and savagely beaten.” Half the Sky

It is the countries with the most ridged sexually conservative societies, such as India, Pakistan, and Iran, that also have the largest numbers what is also referred to as forced prostitution and sex trafficking.

Part of the issue when it comes to brothels and really the drive in demand everywhere in places such as the Middle East and can also pertain to much of the Asian sex trade is the drive for the demand that is based on caste and a colorist system set into place frequently. The as ,Half The Sky, put it the implicit social contract is upper-class girls (lighter skinned, stem from upper class homes, castes, etc) are deemed “safe”, while it is socially admissible for males to patron brothels full of darker skinned or lower caste Girls (who generally have been sold there under false pretenses as youths.)

Therefore so long as Girls such as ,Meena, are uneducated and deemed lower caste “peasants” society will as ,Half The Sky, put it look the other way. Any professional would say this concept more or less is prevalent everywhere as we have seen in movements such as Black Lives Matter, Brown Lives Matter, and so on. It goes without saying corruption also plays a significant role in why sex trafficking and the trade continues to exist.

In Meena’s story she went on to elaborate how her Madame captor ,Ainul, took her child after she became pregnant due the repeated rapes daily by buyers and thus consequently had a daughter,

“We will not let Naina (Meena’s daughter) stay with you. You are a prostitute, and have no honor. So you might run away.” The coercion and force of this was to both keep Meena from breast-feeding as customers dislike “prostitutes” ,victimized, etc who lactate. The other part of this tactic was to hold the baby hostage to keep from Meena running away. When she had a son the same crime occurred.

Upon Meena attempting to go to the police for assistance they not only mocked and laughed at her but also sent her back to her captors. Meena eventually escaped her brothel trafficking nightmare via a Man pharmacist. This however did not shelter ,Meena’s, daughter from also being sex trafficked. When her daughter turned 12 years of age she was sold by the same Madame trafficker that had been Meena’s tormentor for years. It was through the organization ,Apne Aap, Meena was able to recover her daughter from sex trafficking and thus the brothel was raided.

Courtesy of- Apne Aap

It is one aspect that was stressed both in this section as well as the next just how inhumane the breaking the spirit of these often children that can be as young as 5, 6 years old or 12/13 to the extent of abhorrent acts such as subsequent rapes as spoken of, beatings as aforesaid, torture such as starvation, forcing trafficked individuals to eat dog droppings, professionals have been relayed stories of forced bestiality (this is common in the pornographic trade as well or as what is called the seasoning act, and or punishment by a pimp), forced to drink toilet water, and honestly anything imaginable or rather unimaginable. Then of course there can be the force of drug use upon those victimized in order to keep the preyed on inline. The say and usage of condoms are not at all up to the trafficked individual therefore one can figure the number who actually are allowed to use condoms hence the risk of HIV AIDS, pregnancy going into the cycle of new prey, infections, and so on. Make no mistake all Madame’s, Pimps, Traffickers, and often Buyers are entirely ruthless towards those they essentially hold as slaves. There isn’t anything “Hard out here for a pimp” it’s the victimized it is hard for. Not at all the pimps, buyers, facilitators, anyone who makes money off of these children and people- perpetrators are the the ones raking in money off the backs of those they torment and enslave essentially. Another aspect that is further covered is the rate of HIV AIDS among sex trafficked individuals. There isn’t any precise data overall at the moment as to how many Sex Trafficked persons or Sex Workers have contracted AIDS by way of the trade however it goes without saying the percentage for exposure to the deadly disease is massively high.

Courtesy of- CDC



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