Unlike other forms of violence, such as rape, domestic violence etc., violence and human rights abuses which
take place within the network of trafficking and the sex trade are far more insidious. The network is not easily penetrated,
and so, collecting information regarding this type of abuse too is difficult.
What countries are worst affected? In most developing countries, we find poverty stricken women, eager to earn a decent
living, unable to do so within the confines of the societies they live in. Along comes an agent, otherwise known as a pimp,
promising the women employment or marriage, and pay the initial salary or bride-price upfront. The women are promised jobs
that will pay them ten or twenty times their earnings at home, and are duped into taking a long journey with these agents,
only to find themselves sold to a brothel keeper at an exorbitant price, at the end of it. From then on these women are virtual
slaves, working to pay of their purchase by the brothel owner.
Some escape, others are beaten or raped into submission-sometimes by their owners and sometimes by customers who are encouraged
to do so by the brothel-keepers.
Congo rural economy being primarily based on subsistence agriculture means poverty is rampant. In the villages, families
with many mouths to feed would gladly sell their girls for employment simply to prevent the family from dying of starvation.
Human Rights Watch says that agents often recruit women during the hungry months usually the period between September and February ,
when poverty is at its peak, and people are at their most vulnerable.
Many brothels use a similar method to break in their new recruits. Initially they use threats and intimidation, and eventually
subject the women to physical torture, including gang rape, beating and even burning with cigarettes. Some brothels even maintain
separate buildings to torture their new recruits.
Governments that take tough steps against rapists, paedophiles and other forms of discrimination of women, are often mute
in the face of the trafficking problem.But it failed.
With the apparent apathy of state governments towards this social evil, alternative steps need to be taken to eliminate
this form of violence against women.
In order to do so effectively, we must first determine the roots of the problem. Staring us in the face of course is the
economic factor, but try as we may changing the face of the global economy is not within our power. Secondly, the ignorance
of women subjected to this type of violence and their families, is a major contributing factor to the flourishing trafficking
trade. Furthermore, the fact that the victims of trafficking often accept societys judgement of them as criminals, for engaging
in the sex trade, complicates matters.
Education could effectively combat this menace. Knowledge would not only open up a world of opportunity and hope for these
women, but would also make them wiser in the ways of the world, and more astute about situations and individuals. And without
meaning to sound feminist, another important tool in fighting this form of discrimination against women would be empowerment.
Once she is made aware of her rights and choices, she can then exercise those rights and thereby combat social prejudices
and seek out justice against her tormentors.
Womens Rights Activist Adolphine Mushiya of Window's Associaton in Congo/Zaire, where trafficking is rampant, claims teaching
women self-respect and their freedom to choose, is an effective way to curb trafficking. According to Adophine, women can
be empowered even through poetry and creative writing styles. She says that the women learn with time that poetry and writing
can be used as an effective weapon against their struggle.
The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation, because in the degradation of woman, the very fountains
of life are poisoned at their source.
Irčne Martine Ndaya Nabote,
Fountain of Hope for Girls and Women