ASIA/INDIA - Protection of abused girls: the experience of the NGO Suraksha

Belagavi - Rescuing girls sold for the sex market, trafficking, prostitution, child marriage: it is with this spirit that the NGO Suraksha organization, is committed to the recovery, rehabilitation, development and the social reintegration of victims of sexual abuse in the Indian state of Karnataka. As Fides learns, the project of the association was born and is now being carried out by two Catholic nuns, Sister Pushpalata and Sister Lourd Joseph, who are often threatened by criminal organizations that manage the trafficking of girls. As confirmed to Fides by the local priest, Fr. Nathanaele Cruz, "this is a praiseworthy job, and for this reason, religious women are risking their lives every day, as they contrast the action of criminals who exploit girls".
Many of the rescued girls now study in schools and colleges or attend professional courses to integrate in society. Suraksha's Annual Report 2015-2016, sent to Fides, describes the assistance given to 21,674 girls in the rural areas of Belagavi, Bengaluru and Kalburgi districts in Karnataka. Over 45,000 people are assisted in five communities in the Belagavi District, a crossroads of human trafficking towards Goa, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad, Delhi and Calcutta. Due to this "centrality" of the district of Belatavi, the NGO has decided to concentrate efforts in this border area where local communities sometimes, in the name of culture or religion, favor the trafficking of human beings or practices such as infant marriages. Further discrimination between the population of these areas is evident in the education sector. In fact, 63% of the population is illiterate, women's literacy is extremely low. Because these people are subject to various forms of slavery, the NGO Suraksha includes them in prevention and awareness programs supported by the government.