One of the most heinous forms of crime – teenage prostitution has pierced its fangs deep into the heart of Indian society.
A petrifying story of the degradation of humanity, teenage prostitution in India is rampant in big cities and small towns alike. Teenage prostitution involves children as young as 13 years old who are trapped in the mortifying circle of trading their body for wages.
These hapless children are either abducted from various regions, from neighbouring countries and sold as prostitutes, or they are sold by their very own parents to pimps.
The whole situation becomes more repulsive as we correlate this phenomenon of teenage prostitution to a developing country like India. Besides the abduction of young ones and selling them to brothels, there is another factor that pares the vanity from the human soul in the name of teenage prostitution.
The reason is simple to comprehend; with problems ranging from poverty, lack of education and limited opportunities among a population of over a billion people, many a time the marginalised are caught in the eye of the maelstrom of prostitution.
A child born in a destitute household, where resources are scarce, might end up being treated as a liability. The result is a situation where parents see their descendant as a source of their income to salvage them from the debt bondage, hence forcing the teenagers to tread the path of prostitution.
Another factor which aids this crime to propagate and strengthen its root in Indian society is the birth of children in the red light area. The children born in brothels are shrugged off in their early years and assigned the task of household chores until the time they can contribute financially.
With a lack of awareness and a thin chance of salvaging their childhood, the ramification is an unintentional introduction to the hell-hole of prostitution which impacts the latent thinking of children and their lives. The facts all reflect the same. Approximately 20 per cent of all prostitutes in the red light districts of India are children. 25 per cent of the child prostitutes have been abducted and sold. 8 per cent have been sold by their fathers to escape debt ridden situations.
As far as the long term impact where flesh slavery is concerned, the observations are heart-wrenching. They are tortured, flogged, degraded and forced into submission through the deprivation of food and water. Besides the physical toll that prostitution takes on them, mental and psychological trauma engulfs their lives and they are left with a bleak hope for a better future.
The notion of parenthood eludes them and social ostracism limits their intellectual potency. With depression, fears that putrefying their body and souls, these sleep-deprived teenagers are enveloped by the perpetual darkness of despair. Some of the teenagers are encouraged towards the use drugs by their exploiters. With drug abuse and flesh trading, teenagers are left with turbid thoughts and a minimal level of mental development.
Though teenage prostitution is one of the biggest social issues in India, sadly this topic is treated with apprehension in both society and the media. The media brushes the entire topic under the rug because of its ‘offensive’ nature. People in society try to look the other way when it comes to a healthy discussion about the possible course that should be adopted in order to eradicate this maelstrom once and for all. Over the years, organisations such as Global Hope India have been pumping up resources in order to provide facilities to the poor with a steadfast aim of helping children grow out of poverty and into a wonderful and bright future.
But the need of the hour is to accelerate the development of the poor and teenagers who are already involved in prostitution, not just by a handful of organisations, but with the collective efforts of an entire society. Then and only then, can we see the statistics depicting teenage prostitution receding and a bright sun soaring high and beaconing a brighter future for an entire nation.