200 women came walking through the breezeway at 10:00am into an old building in Kolkata(Calcutta), India. During the time just before their day of work at the clothing center, it came in a strong grip to me … these women were actually “saved”, saved from the slavery of the sex trade industry. Photography and interviews were forbidden due to all types of risks to these women and those helping them. We were however allowed to speak openly with the leadership, in this one of seven organizations we the GHNI team investigated for our TCD work in the “source” villages these women came from. Words cannot describe how sobering it was. Most trickery and deception comes when the girls are hardly or not at all in puberty. Within a ½-mile radius of our location, there were 20,000 women in prostitution, with 40,000 clients each night. The 200 women in front of us seemed so few in comparison.
Back from Kolkata(Calcutta), India … where half of our trip was invested in building relationships and a deeper understanding of how GHNI can assist and work alongside people and organizations already involved in anti-human trafficking. “Sober” is putting it extremely lightly, as we the team of three began to delve into and more deeply understand this devastating and complex work among a diverse group of organizations and philosophies pressing into these needs. Photography and personal interviews were simply not allowed; and for many-MANY good reasons. It was an experience I will never forget! Please note picture is blurred for privacy issues.
GHNI is committed to TCD-Transformational Community Development for many reasons. One vital reason is that via TCD, incomes
become self-sustaining in villages; villages that are preyed upon by those sponsoring human trafficking. Our work and co-laborative efforts with other organizations fighting against human trafficking and sexual exploitation is vital. Working together with others, we in GHNI focus in on prevention at its core, preventing the reasons for these women and children from entering into exploitation environments to begin with.
February and early March, I will be part of a team that goes to Kolkata and a number of villages near there, working with anti-human trafficking TCD planning and doing media footage, seeking to raise awareness and funding for these crucial needs. Preparations are in full swing for this at present!