Kolkata : India | May 04, 2010 at 9:08 AM PDT
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“I came from Khulna district of Bangladesh three years back. I have three sisters and two brothers. My father is a small farmer. For last few years we have been struggling with floods in every year. My father couldn’t save his cultivation land, acute poverty forced me to cross the border for a job in the Indian side but finally when I crossed the border I was caught by a middleman and shifted me to the Seth Bagan red light area” said Golapee , a 22 year old woman, who now herself has become a human trafficker.

She knows how to cross the border easily and she took nearly 25 girls in last three years

to India.

“I have been in India for the last six years. Someone from my village brought me here. My family is too poor to look after me” a girl called Nazma told Allvoices.

She explained her father was a farmer and because of severe floods in Bangladesh he was not able to get work on a regular basis. Her mother sells puffed rice. With seven children and very little money, it was very hard for them to survive.

One day she left home and went to India looking for job opportunities. She has now become a sex worker in Sonagachi, the largest red-light district in Calcutta, India.

West Bengal tops the list of Indian states in trafficking in girls. Nearly 18 to 20% in the red light areas are from West Bengal according to Aloka Mitra, a spokesperson for the Women’s Interlink Foundation.

She added that they have started to work with the Indian Border Security Force(BSF) to raise awareness about sex trafficking. They have been campaigning by staging street plays, singing folk songs in the village markets.

According to a recent UN study, girls and women from West Bengal and Assam are being increasingly trafficked to Punjab and Haryana, where they are sexually exploited until they bear a male child.

“There is an emerging pattern of trafficking in girls from West Bengal and Assam to the more prosperous states of Punjab and Haryana, where the gender gap is most acute…The woman is either abandoned or passed onto another man after the birth of the male child,” the study said.

The source of the demand, driving trafficking in young women, arises from the prevailing gender inequalities in densely populated countries like India, namely the perception that a girl child is an “economic liability”, it said.

kalpana pradhan is based in Kolkata, Bangla, India, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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