“Everyone has a responsibility to prevent and end violence against women and girls, starting by challenging the culture of discrimination that allows it to continue.”
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General, United Nations
Up to 7 in 10 women around the world will experience physical or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime, and in India, the threat of violence can begin even before a baby girl is born, with abortions of female foetuses leading to a gender imbalance across the country. In a further cruel twist of fate, one of the outcomes of this gender imbalance – that in some districts it is increasingly hard for men to find women to marry – has led to further violence and abuse of women and girls in the form of human trafficking.
As the BBC reports, bride trafficking has become prevalent, with girls bought from their families in other states while still young to be married to local men. The girls not only suffer numerous human rights violations such as being denied an education but they can also experience physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their husbands, essentially leading the life of slaves, and they may also be ostracised by the community who see them as outsiders.
With the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women taking place earlier this week, the BBC’s report The Story of India’s Salve Brides, in which it presents a number of short videos documenting the stories of those involved – a trafficked bride, an activist, but also a trafficker as well – goes some way to raising awareness of this critically important issue.
At LetzChange we are proud to be associated with a number of NGOs listed on our platform that are addressing both the causes and the consequences of human trafficking, and many others promoting the welfare and rights of women. One such NGO, Prerana (Mumbai) runs a rehabilitation programme where girls rescued from human trafficking are helped to recover from their physical and psychological wounds. The girls are also assisted with the legal aid process and receive vocational training in simple skills so that once they leave the centre they are more able to be self-reliant.
As Secretary General of the UN Bank Ki-moon says, the starting point for ending violence against women and girls is to challenge the culture and discrimination that allows it to continue. However, for many unfortunate women and girls across the country, that opportunity has been and gone. There is therefore a growing need to support NGOs such as Prerana that are picking up the pieces for these girls, supporting them on their long and arduous journey towards rehabilitation and a brighter future.
If you would like to stand by these girls too, please visit LetzChange to find out more and make a donation here.