March Cause of the Month - Bombay Teen Challenge
According to the Global Slavery Index of 2013, there are 29.8 million slaves in the world today with about half in India. Experts believe the actually number may be 2-5 times that. Bombay Teen Challenge is working to change that.
In India there is a basic hierarchy in the human trafficking system. The leader of a brothel - the “Malik” supervises the money making of the brother where each act costs about $4 USD. Next is the “Gharwali” who manages the day to day operations. Lodgers rent rooms from the Malik and accept their own clients. “Adhiyas” have the choice to accept or reject clients based and split their earnings with the Malik. Last in the hierarchy is the newly trafficked victim, this individual owes a debt to the Malik and must work off that price. This debt is the price the Malik paid for the victim.The new victim then goes through an abusive break-in process to acclimate them to the life of a brothel and begins to generate the most income for the Malik.
The most common age for the newly trafficked victim is 9-13. Once the debt is paid, the victim is free to earn their own living in the redlight district. By this time they are addicted to drugs and alcohol, have children, and are likely HIV positive. The victim will likely borrow money, burying her in debt, and forcing her to continue to work in the streets - seemingly by choice.
Bombay Teen Challenge’s Impact
- Outreach - BTC is in the streets of Mumbai’s red light districts everyday. Being a presence and reaching out to trafficking victims. 40% of victims BTC has rescued have come from their food truck program and freedom walks.
- Healthcare - BTC is one of India’s only HIV non profit treatment centers that offers free care. 65% of trafficked women test positive for HIV. BTC is able to not only offer consistent care but also a home cooked meal to aid in the nutritional deficiencies of victims.
- Homes - BTC has homes designed for women, boys, girls, HIV positive children, and night shelters.
- Education - with 71% of trafficking victims being illiterate, BTC provides education to meet the individual needs and prepare children for the foreign environment of school.
- Music - ⅘ studies show that music reduces symptoms of trauma and depression. BTC has a music room where victims can experience the healing powers that music has to offer. They hope to create a music school with professional training.
- Vocation - BTC trains women to create handcrafted goods which are sold locally and worldwide. This provides a stable source of income and a sense of self worth.
How Can You Help?
Shop Simply Earth and 13% of the profits of your purchase will be donated to Bombay Teen Challenge to further their mission “to put an end to human trafficking in India, restore hope and dignity to those marginalised and empower them with education and vocation, break the vicious cycle of poverty, illiteracy and enslavement, so those empowered today become tomorrow’s agents of change.”
BTC website is a fantastic source of information on human trafficking in India. Learn more about BTC’s work and other ways you can help BTC at their website.
- Katie Veldkamp