9 March 2004
Maya was a teenager when she started to work at a carpet factory near Kathmandu in Nepal to support her family. After six months, an old woman promised to take Maya and her friend, Parvati to the city of dreams: Mumbai (formerly Bombay) in India.
Instead, they were taken to Sonagachi, Calcutta's red light district. After two years in a brothel, Maya and Parvati married two customers who promised to rescue them. But soon they started bringing other customers home and eventually Maya was sold by her husband for 15,000 Rupees (about £225) to a Mumbai brothel. Her customers included schoolboys, old men, sexual perverts and men suffering with venereal diseases. Maya died within three years. Parvati is still missing.
Every year over 2 million people (mostly women and children) are trafficked worldwide, 375,000 from Asia alone. Women, girls and boys are forced or deceived into moving across borders, where they find forced labour, sexual exploitation, false marriages, forced adoption and bondage.
Though most countries have legislation to deal with trafficking, the involvement of more than one country often renders enforcement and redress difficult. Lack of travel documents, working visas and an unfamiliarity with local languages make it additionally difficult for the trafficked persons to seek justice.
In some cases people are repatriated against their wishes. People who are voluntarily repatriated often run into difficulties when faced with convoluted legal processes, abysmal conditions in temporary custody, and the social stigma associated with abduction, sex outside marriage and rape.
ActionAid Asia's campaign against trafficking will work at local, national and international levels to attempt to end this trafficking in human beings.
- Locally: We will try to prevent trafficking at source by creating awareness and building skills among communities and groups most at risk of trafficking. We will help trafficked people rebuild their lives, in line with their own aspirations.
- Nationally: We will influence legal systems to decriminalise the lives of trafficked people, and protect them from the traffickers.
- Internationally: we will strengthen the global movement against trafficking by gathering and sharing information, and building understanding between developing countries.