Sinlung /
11 April 2011

Condom Ad Fuelling Sex Trafficking


A recent report by a Delhi-based NGO suggests so.

New Delhi, Apr 11 : Using a condom is a good idea, right? But, a recent advertisement campaign advocating the usage of the contraceptive has allegedly led to an increase in the number of human trafficking cases.

According to a report available with Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) figures, there are currently three million human trafficking victims in India - 1.2 million are children.

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) figures indicate that the average age of those who fall victim to human trafficking is between nine and thirteen years. There has been a staggering rise in the number of persons involved in human trafficking in the country - the figure has increased 17 times in the past decade.

In a 3-day conference under the banner Coalition Against Trafficking of Women Asia- Pacific (CATW) it was discussed that a condom campaign is also a reason behind the increase in trafficking cases.

"There was a campaign which said it doesn't matter which sex worker you choose, but choose the right condom. This creates the notion that it is fine to have intercourse with sex workers.

But women and underage children are often forced into prostitution and the demand is growing," said Ruchira Gupta, founder of Apne Aap Worldwide.

The report also says that increasing mobile phone and internet penetration has given rise to forcefully engaging women and children into prostitution.

According to recent findings, the maximum traffic coming to popular international porn websites is from India. Around 70 per cent traffic from India comes to these sites.

Moreover the latest mobile applications are also used to access pornography websites, which has also led to an increase in demand for sex workers, leading to more trafficking.

AD trouble? A survivor of sex trafficking, Fatima, with her son.

Sex trafficking victims from various Asia-Pacific countries have also demanded amendment to laws to include stricter penalties that can act as a deterrent to those involved in flesh trade and ensure better protection for women in the country.

Victims and advocates from 25 countries, including India, Nepal, Philippines, Japan, South Korea and Australia, most of whom opposed legalising prostitution and punishment for 'buyers' in sex trade and demanded greater investment in welfare of girls and women from governments.

"We will primarily call for the removal of provisions in our laws that criminalise women in prostitution and put provisions that will criminalise the buyers and the business. These laws shall include extradition of traffickers and buyers," said Ruchira.

For Fatima Nat Dhuniya, who was trapped in flesh trade as a child and managed to escape, the thought of legalising prostitution is unthinkable.

"When women in my community and those who had been sex workers earlier heard that the government was mulling legalising prostitution, we decided that we will beat such people up.

Don't they think of sisters or daughters at home? As long as there are buyers there will not be an end to sex trafficking," said Dhuniya.
What is to blame

The increase in the use of technology for exploitative purposes (from sexual or pornographic, to trafficking in persons or a combination of offences) has been attributed to:

* More generalised access to internet
* Increased number of internet users each year
* Increased affordability of technology and services
* Anonymity of users
* Speed - it is fast (leaving only digital traces)
* Criminals can work from home (although the crime itself can affect victims and have consequences in several countries)
* Difficulty to trace (criminals can operate in many countries)
* The high profitability of the sale of pornography relative to the investment required.


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