To what extend has demonetisation curbed flesh trade in India?


Demonetisation is a prominent notion that has shook the nation for an effective cause

India's rupee recall appears to have had "a massive impact" on the country's human trafficking industry, according to advocacy and rescue groups, with some reporting reductions of up to 90% in the number of women and girls being admitted to their shelters.

It has also being found that the illegal trade was already rejuvenating, and that the financial strain of demonetisation on poor communities was pushing new, younger girls into sex work, and forcing women already in the industry to work for credit or for free.
As stated by Sunita Krishnan, the co-founder of Prajwala, a Hyderabad-based NGO that rescues victims of sex slavery, ''Demonetisation complicated every point in the human trafficking supply chain, starting with a "drastic reduction in the number of sex buyers".

The dearth of customers for sex workers meant "it obviously did not make any sense to induct any new girls in this period", Krishnan said. "In my shelter home, on average every month 60 to 70 new, rescued victims are admitted. From 8 November [the day demonetisation was announced] in the last 40 days, only six new victims have been admitted.

Ashok Rajgor, the chief investigation officer at the Rescue Foundation, said no formal surveys had been conducted, "but our operatives in the field have noticed a sharp change".

Fewer customers for brothels meant that traffickers had less capital to buy and transport women and girls from states such as Jharkhand, Assam and Bihar, all hubs for the trade.

"The market is totally down," he said. "When you buy a girl, it's a huge amount of money, maybe 200,000 rupees. It's really big money and nowadays it's very difficult to get that kind of cash."

But he added: "The traffickers will look for other options. It's too early to say how, but they'll manage." Whereas the founder of Apne Apne, an NGO that works with women across Bihar and in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkatta stated that the introduction of a new 2,000-rupee note, while supplies of small change remained scarce, had distorted the market, making younger girls more vulnerable, said Ruchira Gupta, the founder of Apne Aap, an NGO that works with women across Bihar and in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.

As the whole conversation started with demonetisation an act to eliminate black money, has also contributed in curbing flesh trade, but the question arises for how long will the high profiled traffickers avert from such an obnoxious deed?

Sex traffickers often recruit children because not only are children more unsuspecting and vulnerable than adults, but there is also a high market demand for young victims and are also oblivious about the market value embedded on them by the traffickers. Traffickers target victims on the telephone, on the Internet, through friends, at the mall, and in after-school programs.

Trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation accounts for 58% of all the trafficking cases globally, and approximately 80% in India. Commercial Sexual Exploitation is a demand-driven phenomenon, made possible by traffickers, sold to the brothels and bought by the 'customers' as per the requirements. Vulnerability is an added factor that makes children easy targets for being trafficked. In most of the times the social economic conditions makes them defenceless and fairly low risk of recognition. Children are more exposed to sexual exploitation as they are not matured enough or legally empowered to make their own choices.

It is a known actuality that flesh trade cannot be wiped out until men stop demanding 'services'. Hence, demonetisation has apparently helped in curbing prostitution but there also prevails every possibility of young girls being trafficked at the most cost-effective rate.

sources: Compiled by Zaheera Ahmed with inputs from the Internet