Associate Prof Aruna Gajbhiye – Sexual Trafficking in India

Aruna Gajbhiye is an Associate Professor at Tirpude College of Social Work, in Nagpur in India. Aruna has worked in a various positions like community worker, programme co-ordinator, contributory lecturer for 7 years in different NGO’s after completion of her post graduation in social work in 1989.Besides teaching at undergraduate and Postgraduate in social work courses since 1996, she is currently Head of the elective of women and Development for MSW and Head of the Women Development Centre of the College. Disaster Management education and gender equality in disaster preparedness, response and recovery is a focus of her academic work.

Aruna has received recognition at local, state, and national level for her training programmes and preparation of modules for the trainings in the area of Participatory research, Gender sensitization and Capacity building of self Help Groups of women. She was involved in research projects related to women and children which were sponsored by the Government of India and the Government of Maharashtra. She has conducted an evaluation study of the child rearing Scheme implemented in five districts (Bal Sangopan Yojna) of central Government  that was sponsored by UNICEF. She is actively involved in the subject examination committee of Nagpur University for a decade. She was a nominated by the writers group of YCMOU Yeashwantrao Chavhan Maharashtra Open University fora  post graduate course in Social Work.

For a decade she has worked with the committee under Immoral Traffic Prevention Act. As an advisory member of this committee, she actively participates in rescue operations of minor girls and women victims of sex trafficking and in their rehabilitation. She is committed to fulfil her two major missions:  to save the girls from sex trade, and to develop a disaster resilient society. 

Associate Professor Aruna Gajbhiye’s Reflection on her work in eliminating sex trafficking

In India, the immoral traffic Prevention Act is the only legislation to prevent and tackle the issue of sex trafficking in India. As per the provision of this Act, Advisory committees has been constituted in each district in India. Members of Non Government organizations (NGOs) were included in this committee to help the Police, Judiciary and Law officers; especially to sensitize them about social-psychological aspects of victims, and these members are responsible to help victims in their rehabilitation and relocation. 

As a voluntary member of the District Committee on Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, I am involved in rescue and rehabilitation of girls and women who are trapped in the sex trade. I have been associated with the counseling process during their stay in the rehabilitation center for more than a decade. 

During that time, I have observed that Trafficking of minor girls and boys in the sex trade is growing and the age of entry in this trade, one that is always by force, is decreasing. Today a girl of 7 years of age can be seen on the streets of the red light area in search of a customer. Some of the girls are born in relationships where there was cheating between the partners, or false promises of marriages or jobs were given as enticement. Some girls were sold by their own parents due to poverty or pressure by relatives. 

Once the girl enters the brothel, it is impossible to leave, unless some help is given from the outside. The brothel owners systematically create helpless conditions for the victim.  Rescuing the victim is an extremely dangerous process and it should be handled with utmost care and confidentiality. During a rescue one must collect all the belongings of the girl. If the girl has a child, the child must be taken into our custody. Once I had rescued a girl of 13 years and didn’t realize that the girl had a child as she was very young.  During the counseling session, the girl insisted on wanting to go back to the brothel. After about four months, she revealed that she had a 9 month old son who is with the brothel keeper. 

Girls kept in brothels experience with great emotional trauma, as they were cheated by their most intimate relatives, friends, neighbors, and in some cases by their parents. In the brothel they are treated very inhumanely to make them agree to serve the clients sexually. Many girls told that, the brothel keepers insert chili powder in the vagina when they refuse to serve her body. One girl tried to escape from the brothel, but was caught and they kept her naked in a room where people could see her from the street, until she agreed to do sex with the customers. Threats to kill the girl’s parents are made or to kidnap and rape her younger sister are common. These threats cause girls to remain in the brothel and even refuse attempts for rehabilitation. 

Rehabilitation and relocation of sexually abused girls is very difficult because of limited human and other resources. Creating awareness and alertness helps to minimize this problem. I believe that childhood is a precious stage of life and girls must get full rights to live their life with dignity and freedom. Let us join our hands to save the girls. 

Donate to Social Awareness and Action for Development (SAAD),

If you would like to donate to Social Awareness and Action for Development (SAAD), the organisation which rescues young girls and women, please contact Prof Gajbhiye at argajbhiye@gmail.comThe following documents were provided by Prof Gajbhiye upon request that relate to SAAD’s formal status.

Registration of SAAD  

List of Office Bearers

Annual Report 2011-2012
Social Awareness and Action for Development (SAAD) Address: A-3, Wing 2, Flat no. 6, Forest Colony, Seminary hills, Nagpur.
Director: Ravindra Gajbhiye
Phone number: 0712 – 2591971
Name of the Treasurer: Mr Ramesh Banger

Sex Trafficking
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