Christians in India Targetted for Sex Trafficking

Christians in India targetted for sex trafficking

ICC Note

“The traffickers have targeted Christian girls in the district of Khandamal. We recorded several cases of girls disappearing. We urgently need to join forces to stop this terrible case.”

09/23/2010 India (Spero News)-There are alarming reports of trafficking of young women on a large scale in Orissa, a region in India that has seen repeated acts of violence against Christians and other minorities at the hands of Hindu nationalists. The victims are mostly young Christian women. The violence against Christians in 2008 gave the opportunity for criminal groups to find easy prey among the refugees and the poor. If the state government does not take adequate measures, Orissa could become a realm for human traffickers”

Msgr. Raphael Cheenath, Catholic Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar reports that his diocese is using the resources at its disposal to combat abduction and human trafficking, especially in an effort to protect young girls.

After surveying the diocesan territory, 24 girls were identified as being at risk because they live alone, are without family, or live in extreme poverty. They have been admitted to colleges, schools, and educational or religious facilities run by the Church.

Even the civil authorities and local police have had to deal with the problem of trafficking of women and there was a recent case of 16 girls being rescued from trafficking gangs.

The All-India Christian Council, an organization that also provides legal assistance to survivors, has declared, “The traffickers have targeted Christian girls in the district of Khandamal. We recorded several cases of girls disappearing. We urgently need to join forces to stop this terrible case.”

One case illustrates many others: Jyothi (an alias) is a Christian girl who joined the exodus of fellow Christians in the wake of Hindu nationalist violence over Christmas in 2008. She was lured in by a smuggler with the promise of a job and a new life and was taken to Delhi. Once near the city, she realized that she had fallen into the hands of a criminal organization: she was repeatedly threatened, beaten and sexually abused for six days and then enslaved  The head of the gang then sent her to work as a maid for a family of Delhi. There the girl again suffered physical and sexual violence. She was finally rescued by local police. She now bears obvious signs of violence on her body and is in a state of psychological exhaustion. She is now in the care of Catholic charitable workers in Orissa.

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