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India’s Child Prostitution from a Woman’s Perspective

By: Carol Blenda Reyes Avila

Globalization has turned children’s bodies into a commodity through sex trafficking for someone else to make money. The propensity toward prostitution is on the increase in such global locations as India because while several programs exist to prevent the presence of sex trafficking, it may as well be the Prohibition Era all again with the level of inefficacy that surrounds any effort law enforcement makes to overcome the industry. With women and children from across the world “being taken captive and sold as sex slaves by International crime rings” laws that already exist are either not strong enough or effectively enforced to stop such slave traders. Sangera points out how “the reality of prostitution and sex trade today is extremely complex and contains a multiplicity of forces, dimensions and players,” thereby making any policy potentially inadequate to deal with such enormity.

In 2000, assertive legislature came to pass when four programs were implemented to put an end to global trafficking of women and children. Coupled with the help of the U.S. Agency for International Development the U.S. State Department spent almost 1.6 million dollars so that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had the funds to build preventive efforts, “providing assistance to victims, and improving coordination between law enforcement officials and local NGOs”.

While intervention efforts have had some positive impact upon India’s child prostitution, the condition is similar to controlling drugs in the United States: as much money is put toward cessation, that much more effort is put forth by those perpetuating the problem in the first place. Throughout history, money has played a crucial role in virtually all cultures; it forces persons to agree with a way of life, and money frequently alters their perceptions for the worse. The drive and desire to possess money has survived through the centuries, only to become highly devastating in modern culture. There appears to be no end to what people will do in order to obtain money, often sacrificing their families, health, morality, as well as depriving others of their human rights.

While the understanding of globalization would seem to reflect a beneficial movement for all countries, current events clearly illustrate how such movement for some is at the detriment of social, political and economic expense of innumerable other societies. As such, this dichotomy of progress has rendered globalization a much-contested concept, particularly when it comes to the hotly debated issue of India’s child prostitution.

Examining this atrocity from a woman’s perspective, we can find a number of issues involved, which include a multitude of humane violations from rights to education and economics to gender equality. The journey to empower otherwise oppressed women, is a long-standing conflict between democratic freedom and patriarchal conformity whose roots are firmly planted within cultural and religious underpinning. A woman’s role within societal constructs has experienced transformation in developed countries whereby gender equality has come to reflect equity of human rights, as well. This Western ideology, however, has not infiltrated those global communities where religious principles are the guiding force behind to what extent fundamental rights are bestowed. Examining those nations that use religion as an excuse to batter, berate and undermine their women shows how they are not concerned with the level of human rights violation they are committing but rather feel the compelling need to maintain control over the female gender out of fear, power and personal inadequacy.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been ineffective toward enacting any substantial level of compliance that indicates any improvement of gender treatment in international communities like India. This proclamation issued by the General Assembly of the United Nations, certainly provides the groundwork for starting a viable course of action toward restructuring the thought processes — and thereby the actions — of patriarchy. However, what looks operational on paper has proven anything but in real life, as too many cultural behaviors are protected behind a religious shield that precludes any imposed threat. Even from as weighty as an authority as the United Nations, to pressure adherence to the Declaration, the nature of which carries with it a wide range of application: aligning national leaders on civil rights issues; legal equality; cultural and social rights; academic rights; establishing a global community free of insensitivity and prejudice, hunger and ignorance; and “a world of justice and reconciliation”.

Similar to lemmings collectively jumping off a cliff for no apparent purpose, people display similar traits when they allow themselves to be led blindly without benefit of putting forth their own critical thinking process to determine if what they are being asked to follow is right or wrong. India’s continued mistreatment, degradation and humiliation toward women and children indicate a direct correlation with this blind ideology in that men are following the patriarchal lessons of their fathers and grandfathers who themselves were indoctrinated with faulty philosophies about gender. It is not within their ethical composition to understand how and why their behavior is both unacceptable and inhumane from a platform of human enlightenment. However, their cultural programming does not provide for the capacity to detect any err in their ways.

Life consists of several aspects that comprise one’s existence; instrumental to this is the notion of natural rights. What are these rights, who are viable recipients and why is there a conflict at all, those are issues philosophers have long pondered without finding any definitive answers to such unfavorable human behavior. Coercion and power are two highly tangential elements that exist throughout this subtext of Indian gender inequity and its ring of child prostitution, they exists due to nothing more than the fundamental nature of strategic subordination and predisposed nature. While some countries like America have evolved to the point of recognizing the detriment of such unsavory actions, others like those in less civilized societies like India perpetuate the oppression of women under the guise of religious mandate.


Edwards, C. & Harder, J. (2000). Sex slave trade enters the U.S. Insight on the News. 16, 14.

Fox, T. C. (1998). Measure of human rights is in actions, not words. National Catholic Reporter, 34, 32(1).

National Council of Churches (2008). Resolution on human trafficking. Retrieved from

Poulin, R. (2003). Globalization and the sex trade: Trafficking and the commoditization of women and children. Canadian Woman Studies, 22, 38+.

Sangera, J. (2007). In the belly of the beast: Sex trade, prostitution and globalization. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of State (2000). Combating trafficking in women and children in South Asia. Retrieved from

Vincent, S. (2005). When freedom requires force. The American Enterprise, 16, 54(2).


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