Land of Missing Children: The Rape Trade

2005 ,    »  -   34 Comments
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Ratings: 8.11/10 from 79 users.
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Land of Missing Children: The Rape Trade

Teenage girls are victims of one of the fastest growing industries in the world - sex traffic. India's north east is famed for its tea estates and Himalayan views. It's the ancient crossroad of trading routes between Bhutan, Nepal, India and Bangladesh, and the town of Siliguri has always been at the heart of international trade.

According to the UN's figures, about 30,000 children are trafficked into Calcutta and a lot of them come through Siliguri. Some are local girls abducted from their families. Buruka, a self-help group, is fighting to rescue the children from the slave traders, but the trafficking problem is getting worse mainly because the people don't understand the problem.

The naïve villagers, often illiterate, hand over their girls into marriage or are taken away to work, and they are simply traded in the big cities as prostitutes. In poor families, girls are often seen as a burden that will need a dowry when they marry. It can sometimes make sense to send them away to work but many don't come back. The poor are easy prey for the traffickers, and the victims and their parents suffer an unending agony.

It's not just local children at risk. The trade is international. Worldwide traffickers add three million women and children to an ocean of sex slaves each year. A quarter of a million are smuggled through South Asia. Siliguri's border police struggle to stem the tide. Girls are lured into slavery with promises of jobs in the big city, forced, kidnapped and lost to their families. But sometimes a family fights back.

Calcutta might look pretty chaotic at the beginning, but it is the center of India's economic boom and that's fueling a consumer boom in all kinds of things. Among the products widely sold on the streets of Calcutta's Red Light District are children.

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34 Comments / User Reviews

  1. ~Oliver B Koslik Esq

    {puke} Human exploitation at its worst.

    I was in a bar that bordered China Nepal several years ago. I was 25 at the time. The hostess were ~14-20 years old and were informally offered "with a room" in the hotel above, by the host of the bar/club. Although foreign child rape will never be on my itinerary, I had no problem talking with the girls (after all they were waitresses), and my traveling friend and I were getting quite sauced on free Lhasa Beer. When we probed about their prostitution, they indicated that their families (from Nepal) were dirt poor, and that they were earning several times what their fathers did. They "worked" in China, and brought the money back home across the border to Nepal.

    Now wearing a Canadian flag didn't just mean representing one of the best countries in the world, nor did it represent the fact that I knew better than buying a minor for the night (some don't). Even though a high school throwback crossed my mind as "excuse". And it was blatant to see that the girls would have loved nothing more than a "young rich white man", to brag about...the thought of being party to encouraging that behaviour in the girls life was the main deterrent... that and rotting in a shitty jail cell (even though the Chinese border guards (Army) had like 6 of them at their table.

    In this film the police captain commented on the necessity of prostitution. Saying that no matter what; prostitution is a good thing, for the men that don't have the opportunity of free love.
    -True-
    His argument claimed that it lowered rates of rape, and I'm sure it does for other forms of violence as well.

    I have no problem with seeing a Thai bar girl, they are all (mostly) regulated (even licenced in Phuket) 18+, STD tested monthly, and have good safe working conditions (as far as I saw).

    But the point that I wanted to make in this comment was the fact that impressioning a young mind with easy money, for something that could turn deadly (later on in life ie: AIDS) is something I could never commit to. Especially in considering my own concupiscence from childhood sexual activity. Which arguably is where the whole process begins.

    Sadly child exploitation will never cease. Unfortunately what I see happening is that these girls get trapped into easy money (at best), and wake up @ age 30 with -0- life skills. That is even if they are working under their own volition.

    People willing to exploit others (sexually or otherwise) exist everywhere on our planet. In China, in Nepal, and especially "in Canada". But it is the evolution of society, the education within it, and prevalence of proper social function that can curtail the idiocy that can ruin young lives.

    Great Doc

  2. dmxi

    desire ruins ethics...esp. when lured as 'normality' !it's ugly when the 'weak' prey on the vulnerable & the vulnerable have to live of the weak.

  3. John Murgaš

    It is estimated that there are 35,000 children working as prostitutes in Colombia with between 5,000 and 10,000 of them on the streets of Bogotá.

  4. I AM POP SLAG.

    There is little to say apart from that this is an excellent and fearless documentary although its subject matter is truly harrowing especially from a western perpective where little girls are considered as people not animals...
    The reporter and the brave rescuer are a little glimmer of hope in what is one of the most dark and disturbing videos I have ever seen on this site.
    What are we as a species when we can treat our own progeny worse than the animals we eat?

    The cultural differences between the world of soho, vegas or amsterdam and the streets of calcutta are profound but not that far removed from one another...
    civilisation?
    its a nice idea ...now can we talk about the when? the where? and how it might be brought about?

  5. Ire Heather

    Sex trafficking of girls and women is slavery at any age if it is against someone's free will, which in most cases it is. None of the women in the sex trade are treated well, or even like human beings, only as commodities. As reported, they don't even get to keep their earnings, their earnings only pay for their appropriately named "keep". So it really irks me that once a girl turns the magic number of 18, many people seem to acquire a different attitude, as if simply "being of age" makes it all okay for girls to be abused. What? One day she's 17 and it's a crime to use her body for sex, but the next day she turns 18 and now she's fair game? These over-all attitudes towards women as sex commodities must change if human beings are ever to evolve and for this world to change. This world can be an ugly place or it can be a beautiful place. It's all going to be in how we treat each other regardless of age and gender.

  6. SempliceCittadino

    As long as men are taught they must act on every urge because after all they are men, the sex trade will happen. As long as the sex trade happens women and children will be forced into it to satisfy the desires of those men who never learned to self-control.

    Sex equals power and even in the US men are taught that men are virile and powerful and must indulge themselves. As long as money is to be made women will willingly make it and others will force the unwilling to make it for them. There is nothing good about the sex trade. Nothing. It panders to the feeling of power and when there is a power differential there is inequality and violence.

  7. edx111

    I think its happening in Jamaica as well, we have lots of missing teenage girls

  8. DigiWongaDude

    Bollocks, feminist rhetoric at its worst.

  9. DigiWongaDude

    I shall elucidate, and damn, I love a good rant!...

    "As long as men are taught they must act on every urge" ...sigh...talk to the hand.

    "...forced into it to satisfy the desires of those men who never learned to self-control." ...sigh...ppff...talk to my microphoooone.

    "Sex equals power and even in the US men are taught that men are virile and powerful and must indulge themselves." ...gasp...women don't use sex for power??? You said it yourself "sex = power"

    "As long as money is to be made women will willingly make it and others will force the unwilling to make it for them." ...it's the oldest game in town. By 'others' you mean men don't you - the oldest villains in town? You're oblivious to your public dis-empowering of women aren't you? ...but I digress...

    "There is nothing good about the sex trade" ...actually you are wrong. Sex is everywhere and in all things, and guess what...it sells us stuff 24/7! As for the industry, there are many female students (I assume you are talking about the female side of the equation) on professional courses (teachers, lawyers, etc.) who participate in the sex trade abroad for the money to travel, and in order to discover themselves sexually. When they go home, no-one is the wiser except themselves. FACT.

    "...when there is a power differential there is inequality and violence." ...so you want to ban economics, education and what...parenting too?

    I see you have 1151 comments and 2059 votes - heaven help us...(don't worry you ain't alone but a clear example that Disqus votes do not equate wisdom - 'go sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here.').

    Consider yourself custard-pied (if you choose to consider that (my post) as some oppressive, male-dominated, sexual connotation, that's your prerogative!).

  10. tomregit

    Thanks Mr. Dude, that needed to be said.

    You are among the too numerous to name faction of interesting and intelligent men and women who post regularly here. It's late.....maybe it's the beer talking..... but it would sure be great to sit down to talk, argue, vent and curse with some of you. Meh, I'd likely get kicked out. :)

  11. DigiWongaDude

    Yeah a get together! I have the perfect spot for a dinner party. Guests of note that can cut the mustard, and flagons of beer and wine flowing like water. You kicked out? Never!

    SempliceCittadino would only get in, hidden inside a very large cake though. :-O

    Thanks for your post :-D

  12. ~Oliver B Koslik Esq

    Thanks for your post... telling that story in person can get embarrassing. Although its one of my "most risque" in my repertoire of traveling tales. I believe I was able to articulate it well enough so as to portray a proper picture of the global problem at hand (its not just asia).

    Your points were just as, if not even more valid than some of the ones I made. Its a tricky subject, but needs to be voiced as much as possible. Otherwise it stays in the shadows.

    The man behind the operation is an absolute hero in my books. Kinda makes me well up to think of the lives he has saved or at least helped.

    Thanks again duder!
    ~Oliver

  13. davy11

    a really sad doc. sadly with so much poverty and corruption i could never see an end to this. it would probably be a good start to give the death penalty to anyone involved with trafficking children, just like a 3rd of these children. and i am not really a supporter of death penalty

  14. SempliceCittadino

    "talk to the hand" is your best "elucidation?" Sigh. Then the rest of your rant is not worth my time either. You're dismissed.

  15. SempliceCittadino

    How erudite! Got anything better than that? I didn't think so.

  16. John Defalque

    No mention of Asia's other dark side-female infanticide, which is rife from India to Korea.

  17. Gadea

    It's a terrible shame, the children are being used, to satisfy the lust
    and the greed of those that pay to use the children's bodies.
    It's a big business.

  18. VitaminR

    a truly horrendous epidemic. a society's worth is reflected upon how they treat their women and children. men who prey upon girls have often been abused (not necessarily sexually). how sad it is these girls will bear the burden of physical and mental destruction, of the abuser and then of their self, the rest of their life.

  19. bringmeredwine

    I just wanted to wring the necks of those incompetent police!

  20. bringmeredwine

    At least the father interviewed at the beginning of this doc fought to rescue his daughter. He obviously loved her very much, despite being so poor.

  21. Annie Stone

    My old boyfriend used to get underage girl to model illegally for him. Nothing nude, but highly sexual. I didn't even know about it, thinking he just dealt drugs, until after he got arrested. Apparently he'd pipped a 14 year old girl off and her parents found out and he got caught. He was just a regular drug dealer and found a market with the sex trade. I had no idea, so you people better be careful.

  22. Pysmythe

    You had no idea he was taking sexualized photos of underage girls, thinking instead he was "only a drug dealer"? Everything about your post bespeaks a fair degree of naivety and vulnerability on your part, Miss Annie Stone. As the father of a daughter evidently about your age, you worry me. I hope that you did learn from this and will make better choices in the future, but precisely the way you've worded it leaves some room for doubt.

  23. jackmax

    He was just a regular drug dealer, and no alarm bell going off in side your pretty little head?

  24. susan g

    I agree that the death penalty for trafficing children seems appropriate. In some countries in South East Asia drug trafficing can earn you a death sentence. Presumably making drugs available to people ruins lives. How is sentencing a child to prostitution, abuse, and HIV infection any different?

  25. Richard Neva

    So much pain and suffering for the young and vulnerable. A glimpse of what we can see in America when our kids, grand kids are sold off when the big crash to our economy comes to fruition!

  26. Sendinglove

    I don't think the police had any interest in stopping it. They just let the girls run away. I am sure they have the mindset that it is good for the economy and too much of a burden for the police, its trivial. Just look the other way. They are only females after all. Sick.

  27. Sendinglove

    I mean this in the kindest way Annie, get yourself together.

  28. dalovelee

    The part that disgust me so much in all of these stories about sex trafficking is WHY are men do depraved that they would want to have sex with underage girls knowing they are committing rape. Until that demented mindset is changed this preying upon young innocent girls will go on forever.

  29. cyberfrank

    even more horrific than I imagined, awful living conditions, if we can call it a living...

  30. Timothy Rouse

    so sad to see . to me every one is corrupt , from the sex workers union

    to the police chelf ,, , seems like they knew they was comming , breaks my heart to see stories like this , every young girl dreams being a princess, and they should be able to grow up to being a pricness and treated like one , , i cant under stand why the children run for ,when they have the chance of being saved , may be the corruption
    goes way up ,, and the girls know this ..pulled out of one place and resold to some other place ,,

  31. Alien Atheist

    The problem is the demand for such a trade in the first place....If men didn't want to have sex with children....this wouldn't be an issue at all...Educate the children and their parents....attack the demand for this particular "product"

  32. Gabriel

    White men from the west travelling to asia to have sex with underage girls. What's new about this story?
    And there's always going to be demand, society has to act despite demand and do something.
    Interesting enough something similar was happen in Czech Republican where germans would cross the border to have sex with underage children. It's really tragic but it seems the main reason people do it is because of poverty.

  33. SacredFire

    What they are "buying" is life force. Young and pure. History, religion is replete with this notion that a female's body is a refueling station for males. Even in Christianity, virginal purity is the highest virtue that a female can bring to the table. Apparently knowledge, intellect, other skills are just not important or to be found among females. Males will take care of the business of running the world and they just need females (in full submission) for sexual refueling. Why the young? Vitality. Why the poor? The rich feed off the poor. The older a male gets, the more he sees females close in age to be "used up". Females are often traumatized and the symptoms are written off as crazy which is considered a pre-existing condition simply for having been born a female. Often it is really PTSD. If the sacred feminine is not brought back into the collective consciousness, things will go down. We have been in a yang cycle and the yin has taken a terrible beating. Without the yin healthy and resplendent, we die.

  34. rukia

    That's why nature is not stupid, there is a reason why females are the upholders of life. All they have to do is decide who gets to come into earth -abort a vast majority of males and violence will diminish against the female species. Look at China and India with their gendercide and how desperate males get. The irrational thought of men against women is abhorrent. Women need to be in charge again to balance the world. Too many males too many problems.

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