Some time last year, we in Asha co-organized a film screening of ”The day my God died”, along with the UW Women’s center. This is a documentary that tells the story of children, little girls, sold into the sex trade.
The sheer scale of the issue is astounding. The UN estimates that one MILLION girls/women are forced into the sex-trade EVERY YEAR.
Even the United States is not free of this menace, with an estimated 50-60,000 girls (minors) trafficked annually.
One Million lives ruined every year.
The movie spends a lot of time in Nepal, one of the worst hit of all the countries. Little girls are taken away from their villages, and taken to India or the Middle East. They are either promised a job, or marriage, or are drugged and kidnapped. The documentary reveals that there are an estimated 350,000 Nepalese girls in India (with concentrated pockets in Bombay/Mumbai and Calcutta), and over twice that many in the rest of Asia, who have been forced into the sex trade. Little Nepalese girls, in “high demand” in a perverse world because they are fair-skinned.
3 % of the entire population of Nepal.
Hidden cameras, carried by the filmmakers or social workers often posing as “clients”, take some absolutely horrifying pictures. The stories come from people working with (or rescued by) wonderful groups like the International Justice mission, or the incredible Maiti Nepal, or Sanlaap from Calcutta. Some of the rescued girls stay back to continue to work with their rescuers to free other victims.
Pimps and brothel owners terrorize the little girls who are ruthlessly taken away from their homes and families. They are beaten mercilessly, starved, or burnt by cigarette butts. Then they are gang raped. This is their “break-in”, when these children are reduced to mere shells of human beings. Their spirit is long dead by the time they are forced to accept “clients”. Then they are paraded in a line to a client, who “chooses” his favorite girl. And rapes her.
One rescued girl, probably about 14 years old, tells you that she had been in the “business” for 6 years. She, like all others, was exposed to multiple partners every single day, and had to “work” every day without rest. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS amongst these children is huge, worsened by a prevalent myth that sex with a minor or virgin will cure you of AIDS.
You encounter some of the pimps and brothel owners, who are incredibly dedicated to their ”cause”. In one police raid (carried out due to constant pressure from the International Justice mission), a brothel owner (a “madam”) is arrested. When interrogated, she says (with a poker face) that there are no minors in the building. But a rescued former victim is with IJM and the police. She leads the cops through trapdoors and corridors to a hidden room, where there are a dozen caged children, all of whom have not yet entered their teens.
Here are the words of one rescued victim, who starts to cry as she recalls the horrors she’d been through.
“The first night they forced me to have sex. When I refused, they held me down, beat me and raped me. I was seven years old.
-- Gina, who was raped by 14 men on her first day in the brothel. She is now dying of AIDS
Which animal would do this to young girls (some as little as seven or eight years old)?
When the movie ended, the audience was silent for over five minutes before any one could find the ability to ask questions.