Posts Tagged ‘Women’

Behind the ‘hindu growth rate’ of Gujarat, ‘wombs for rent’

January 5, 2008

ANAND: Every night in this quiet western Indian city, 15 pregnant women prepare for sleep in the spacious house they share, ascending the stairs in a procession of ballooned bellies, to bedrooms that become a landscape of soft hills.

A team of maids, cooks and doctors looks after the women, whose pregnancies would be unusual anywhere else but are common here. The young mothers of Anand, a place famous for its milk, are pregnant with the children of infertile couples from around the world.

The small clinic at Kaival Hospital matches infertile couples with local women, cares for the women during pregnancy and delivery, and counsels them afterward. Anand’s surrogate mothers, pioneers in the growing field of outsourced pregnancies, have given birth to roughly 40 babies.

More than 50 women in this city are now pregnant with the children of couples from the United States, Taiwan, Britain and beyond. The women earn more than many would make in 15 years. But the program raises a host of uncomfortable questions that touch on morals and modern science, exploitation and globalization, and that most natural of desires: to have a family.

Dr. Nayna Patel, the woman behind Anand’s baby boom, defends her work as meaningful for everyone involved.

“There is this one woman who desperately needs a baby and cannot have her own child without the help of a surrogate. And at the other end there is this woman who badly wants to help her (own) family,” Patel said. “If this female wants to help the other one … why not allow that? … It’s not for any bad cause. They’re helping one another to have a new life in this world.”

Experts say commercial surrogacy _ or what has been called “wombs for rent” _ is growing in India. While no reliable numbers track such pregnancies nationwide, doctors work with surrogates in virtually every major city. The women are impregnated in-vitro with the egg and sperm of couples unable to conceive on their own.

Commercial surrogacy has been legal in India since 2002, as it is in many other countries, including the United States. But India is the leader in making it a viable industry rather than a rare fertility treatment. Experts say it could take off for the same reasons outsourcing in other industries has been successful: a wide labor pool working for relatively low rates.

Critics say the couples are exploiting poor women in India _ a country with an alarmingly high maternal death rate _ by hiring them at a cut-rate cost to undergo the hardship, pain and risks of labor.

“It raises the factor of baby farms in developing countries,” said Dr. John Lantos of the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City, Missouri. “It comes down to questions of voluntariness and risk.”

Patel’s surrogates are aware of the risks because they’ve watched others go through them. Many of the mothers know one another, or are even related. Three sisters have all borne strangers’ children, and their sister-in-law is pregnant with a second surrogate baby. Nearly half the babies have been born to foreign couples while the rest have gone to Indians.

Ritu Sodhi, a furniture importer from Los Angeles who was born in India, spent US$200,000 (euro138,910) trying to get pregnant through in-vitro fertilization, and was considering spending another US$80,000 (euro55,563) to hire a surrogate mother in the United States.

“We were so desperate,” she said. “It was emotionally and financially exhausting.”

Then, on the Internet, Sodhi found Patel’s clinic. After spending about US$20,000 (euro13,890) _ more than many couples because it took the surrogate mother several cycles to conceive _ Sodhi and her husband are now back home with their 4-month-old baby, Neel. They plan to return to Anand for a second child.

“Even if it cost $1 million (euro690,000), the joy that they had delivered to me is so much more than any money that I have given them,” said Sodhi. “They’re godsends to deliver something so special.”

Patel’s center is believed to be unique in offering one-stop service. Other clinics may request that the couple bring in their own surrogate, often a family member or friend, and some place classified ads. But in Anand the couple just provides the egg and sperm and the clinic does the rest, drawing from a waiting list of tested and ready surrogates.

Young women are flocking to the clinic to sign up for the list. Suman Dodia, a pregnant, baby-faced 26-year-old, said she will buy a house with the US$4,500 (euro3,125) she receives from the British couple whose child she’s carrying. It would have taken her 15 years to earn that on her maid’s monthly salary of US$25 (euro17).

Dodia’s own three children were delivered at home and she said she never visited a doctor during those pregnancies.

“It’s very different with medicine,” Dodia said, resting her hands on her hugely pregnant belly. “I’m being more careful now than I was with my own pregnancy.”

Patel said she carefully chooses which couples to help and which women to hire as surrogates. She only accepts couples with serious fertility issues, like survivors of uterine cancer. The surrogate mothers have to be between 18 and 45, have at least one child of their own, and be in good medical shape.

Like some fertility reality show, a rotating cast of surrogate mothers live together in a home rented by the clinic and overseen by a former surrogate mother. They receive their children and husbands as visitors during the day, when they’re not busy with English or computer classes.

“They feel like my family,” said Rubina Mandul, 32, the surrogate house’s den mother. “The first 10 days are hard, but then they don’t want to go home.”

Mandul, who has two sons of her own, gave birth to a child for an American couple in February. She said she misses the baby, but she stays in touch with the parents over the Internet. A photo of the American couple with the child hangs over the sofa.

“They need a baby more than me,” she said. The surrogate mothers and the parents sign a contract that promises the couple will cover all medical expenses in addition to the woman’s payment, and the surrogate mother will hand over the baby after birth. The couples fly to Anand for the in-vitro fertilization and again for the birth. Most couples end up paying the clinic less than US$10,000 (euro6,945) for the entire procedure, including fertilization, the fee to the mother and medical expenses.

Counseling is a major part of the process and Patel tells the women to think of the pregnancy as “someone’s child comes to stay at your place for nine months.”

Kailas Gheewala, 25, said she doesn’t think of the pregnancy as her own.

“The fetus is theirs, so I’m not sad to give it back,” said Gheewala, who plans to save the US$6,250 (euro4,340) she’s earning for her two daughters’ education. “The child will go to the U.S. and lead a better life and I’ll be happy.”

Patel said none of the surrogate mothers has had especially difficult births or serious medical problems, but risks are inescapable.

“We have to be very careful,” she said. “We overdo all the health investigations. We do not take any chances.”

Health experts expect to see more Indian commercial surrogacy programs in coming years. Dr. Indira Hinduja, a prominent fertility specialist who was behind India’s first test-tube baby two decades ago, receives several surrogacy inquiries a month from couples overseas.

“People are accepting it,” said Hinduja. “Earlier they used to be ashamed but now they are becoming more broadminded.”

But if commercial surrogacy keeps growing, some fear it could change from a medical necessity for infertile women to a convenience for the rich.

“You can picture the wealthy couples of the West deciding that pregnancy is just not worth the trouble anymore and the whole industry will be farmed out,” said Lantos.

Or, Lantos said, competition among clinics could lead to compromised safety measures and “the clinic across the street offers it for 20 percent less and one in Bangladesh undercuts that and pretty soon conditions get bad.”

The industry is not regulated by the government. Health officials have issued nonbinding ethical guidelines and called for legislation to protect the surrogates and the children.

For now, the surrogate mothers in Anand seem as pleased with the arrangement as the new parents.

“I know this isn’t mine,” said Jagrudi Sharma, 34, pointing to her belly. “But I’m giving happiness to another couple. And it’s great for me.”

Economic Times

80,000 women die during abortions every year in India

December 20, 2007

BANGALORE: Around 11 million abortions are carried out in India every year and nearly 80,000 women die during the process, according to an expert.

A majority of abortions are performed by untrained hands and studies suggest that nearly 80,000 women die due to unsafe abortions, Dr Hema Divakar, Chairperson, Federation of Obsterics and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI), Perinatology Committee RPT Perinatology Committee.

Stressing the need to promote awareness about emergency contraception methods, she said research shows that 78 per cent of pregnancies in India were unplanned, of which 25 per cent are unwanted, leading to approximately 11 million abortions.

“The level of emergency contraception is abysmally low in India,” she told reporters on Wednesday and added that only one out of 100 women were aware of it.

Recent advertisements had fuelled some awareness, but the sale of these contraceptives was yet to pick up, she said.

An Emergency Contraceptive (EC) can prevent pregnancy by over 80 per cent if taken within 72 hours of an intercourse.

However, these pills are to be taken only in an emergency and not as a regular form of contraception, she added.

Clearing misconceptions associated with EC, she it was not an abortion pill and cannot abort a foetus once pregnancy is established.

EC acts as an interceptive agent that prevents ovulation, fertilization or implantation depending on the phase of menstrual cycle, Divakar added.

Proper and timely use of EC pills can bring down the spiralling unsafe abortions, she said.

Times of India 20 Dec 2007, 1322 hrs IST,PTI

Hindu boy sells girl friend for Rs 40k

December 19, 2007

Delhi lover sells woman for Rs 40K

NEW DELHI: In a shocking incident, the ‘lover’ of a 21-year-old woman sold her to a couple from Haryana for Rs 40,000. The victim, who was rescued by the Delhi Police crime branch from Jind on Monday, was raped repeatedly by three men before being forced into prostitution.

The woman, who is from Jharkhand, had come to Delhi a few weeks ago to meet her pregnant sister. She was staying in the house of her brother-in-law at Shahdara in east Delhi.

The two men who have been arrested for abducting and selling her were identified as Jai Shankar, who lives in Adarsh Nagar in north Delhi, and Pervez, from Sultanpuri in west Delhi. Both are unemployed. According to the police, Shankar met the woman in Shahdara and they “fell in love”. On December 12, Shankar took her to Pervez’s house saying he wanted to marry her in a temple.

The woman told the police that at Pervez’s house, they were approached by a man named Jagbir and his wife Rajbala. These two have also been arrested. “The couple has admitted they paid Rs 40,000 to Jai Shankar and Pervez for the woman. Jagbir and Rajbala are pimps who forced women into prostitution. The two forcibly took her to Jind and kept her illegally confined there,” said a senior police officer.

19 Dec 2007, 0420 hrs IST,TNN

55 percent women anaemic, 40 percent kids underweight: NFHSreport

October 11, 2007

More than half the women in India  are anaemic and one in three child is underweight.

‘Anaemia is disturbingly common among adults. 55 percent of women in India are anaemic and 43 percent of kids below the age of three are underweight,’ reveals the final report of the National Family Health Survey – III (NFHS-3), released Thursday.

‘Anaemia among pregnant women during that period has also increased. Even though men are much less likely than women to be anaemic, anaemia levels in men are at around 24 percent,’ the NFHS survey revealed.

The findings showed that malnutrition continues to be a significant health problem for children and adults in India.

‘There has been very marginal change in the percentage of children who are underweight. From 43 percent underweight children in 1998-99 to 40 percent in 2006.’

NFHS-3 also found high prevalence of anaemia – 70 percent in children aged 6-59 months. Anaemia is primarily linked to poor nutrition.

‘Women and men suffer a dual burden of over nutrition and under nutrition. More than one third of women are too thin, while 13 percent are overweight.

‘One-third of men are too thin, and 9 percent are overweight or obese. The states with the largest percentage of overweight women and men are in Punjab, Kerala, and Delhi, especially among the more educated,’ the survey pointed out.

Betis As Bombs – Exploding The Borders Of Caste And Community

April 14, 2007

In every house there is a live bomb that can erupt at any time. Do you know who that is? Daughters are the honour of the family and the community, and to protect that is our Hindu duty and Hindu culture… . Come, and let’s unite to save bombs… I don’t believe in love marriage. We have to marry within our own community. These girls go to college, make friends with some lafanga [loafer], roam with them on their bikes, fall in love, and then run off and get married…We bring them back and convince them that they are ruining their future. They stay with me for a while and then return to their parents.” – Babu Bajrangi, Frontline, Dec 16-29 2006

Bajrangi is the VHP leader who gained notoriety recently for being the unofficial censor for the film Parzania in Ahmedabad. Less known in the fact that he boasts of having ‘rescued’ (kidnapped) no less than 918 women from his Kadwa Patel community who eloped to marry men outside the community – 70% of whom were Muslim or Christian men, and the rest were from other sub-castes.

The Gujarat genocide was marked by the rape of Muslim women and mutilation of their bodies by the Sangh Parivar. Such rapes were celebrated as acts of nationalism. Bajrangi’s acts of ‘rescue’ of Hindu women from marriages with ‘other’ men are also projected as acts of nationalism. The borders of caste and (religious) community need to be policed for infiltration from the enemy with as much vigilant surveillance as the borders of the nation. In fact, the border of each community (and family within it) is the border of nation in microcosm. The difference is that the borders of the family and community are lined with explosive from within. They are forever vulnerable because the sexuality of their own daughters has the potential to explode those boundaries and call into question the very foundation of racial purity on which the cultural nationalism of the Hindu Rashtra rests.

There are many who hold Hindutva’s violent codes to be a kind of Talibanic aberration and appeal to Hindus to distinguish it from the essentially liberal soul of Hinduism. See for instance Sitaram Yechury’s piece written in the wake of the Babri Masjid demolition, titled Pseudo-Hinduism Exposed: The Reality of the Saffron Brigade’s Myths. This piece explicitly contrasts liberal Hinduism to the impostor – ‘pseudo-Hinduism’ or Hindutva. Typically, this piece attributes India’s democracy to the choice in favour of secular democracy made by its Hindu majority and contrasts it with intolerant Islamic theocracies (implying that those theocracies are attributable to the choice made by intolerant Islamic majority?). As an extension of this thesis, Yechury observes, “The rabid intolerance of other religions (in Islamic theocracies) is matched by ruthlessly suppressive laws that deny elementary democratic rights especially to women.” The implication is that India in contrast assures those democratic rights to its women.

But it would be a mistake to imagine that this aspect of Hindutva – Bajrangi’s brand of violent policing of women, or the Bajrang Dal’s threat issued a few years back, that Hindu women who married Muslims would have their noses cut off, or its periodic threats against women wearing jeans or couples celebrating Valentine’s Day – marks a rupture with a gentler and more benign Hinduism. Communal fascism of the Hindutva variety draws sustenance from the widely prevailing anxiety of Hindu caste communities about breaching of patriarchal codes, caste and community boundaries – and the resultant threat to property relations and status. These anxieties are not the unique preserve of ‘backward’ rural communities; Prem Chowdhry shows us how modern phenomena like granting of legal inheritance rights to women and the social consequences of urbanisation in Haryana intensify these anxieties and the resultant violence against those who disobey marriage codes. (‘Enforcing Cultural Codes: Gender and Violence in Northern India’, A Question of Silence: The Sexual Economies of Modern India, ed. Mary John and Janaki Nair, 1998)

Uma Chakravarti has remarked how brahminical patriarchy has for long regarded women of upper castes as ‘gateways’ or points of breach into the caste system – requiring careful surveillance to preserve upper caste purity – and this “obsessive concern with policing female sexuality” has become a stubborn feature across caste groups (Uma Chakravarti, Gendering Caste: Through a Feminist Lens, 2003, pp 35-36). She notes that there is “widespread ‘consent’, in the sense that Gramsci outlines it, within civil society to regard choice, particularly when articulated by a woman as disruptive of the whole social order…and ‘with free choice of partners involving women, the whole social fabric seems to suffer a terrible tear’.” (Chakravarti, pp152-53) It is the existence of such consent for obsessive control of women’s sexual choice, such widespread fear of a ‘terrible’ tear inflicted by women’s free choice, that sustains and ‘naturalises’ Bajrangi’s mass abduction spree as a patriotic act. Bajrangi’s mass abductions are able to masquerade as a grotesque version of a more common ideology and practice of ‘guardianship’ (brother as guardian of sister’s honour) celebrated by popular cinema and serials and normalised by the festival of Raksha Bandhan. Adult women are legally beyond the scope and control of ‘guardianship’. Yet the ideology of guardianship (closely tied up with control of female sexuality, reproduction and labour) and its twin, the ideology that makes women the repositories of izzat or honour of the community/nation is perpetuated. The ‘honour’ killings decreed by caste panchayats for lovers who transgress codes of caste and community and Bajrangi’s abductions thus breathe the same ideological oxygen.

This leads us to ask: can Left movements and women’s movements challenge communal fascist violence against women without also challenging the ideology of guardianship and izzat? In the case of agrarian labour communities, usually dalit or extremely backward, there is tremendous resistance to the sexual exploitation of women by upper caste men, and Chakravarti notes that the “issue of izzat is central to peasant movements in Bihar under various Marxist-Leninist formations and in dalit movements” (Chakravarti, p 169). While resistance to sexual violence will continue to be a powerful mobilisational issue, these movements need to be alert to the dangers of the connotations and implications of izzat. These movements must guard against bearing the baggage of resentment against the upper caste taunts that lower caste women have no izzat to begin with or that lower caste men are ‘unable’ to ‘protect’ ‘their’ women. In other words, such radical political mobilisation must assert the autonomy and freedom of women who are dalit agrarian labourers – and must guard against framing the struggle in terms of asserting the ‘ability’ of lower caste men to ‘protect’ the ‘izzat’ of women and of their community. This means asserting the sexual freedom and autonomy of women within the community as much as against the oppressor without.

We need to recognise the links between Babu Bajrangi’s assaults on women’s freedom, and those structures and practices that we tend to take as normative, natural and acceptable – such as the practice of arranging marriages within one’s caste and community, disapproving of independent relationships forged by one’s sisters or daughters, holding oneself to be the ‘guardian’ of one’s sisters or daughters, and so on. Often, as long as overt coercion or violence is not involved, we tend to view anxiety about controlling sexual behaviour of daughters, as quite natural. Women’s movements and Left movements must confront and challenge the ideology of guardianship and izzat even where overt coercion is not flaunted – as part of their struggle against the structures of class and caste, and against communal fascism.

By Kavita Krishnan, 12 April, 2007, Countercurrents.org

More than 50 pc Muslim women backward in West Bengal : survey

April 13, 2007

If being born as a girl child is not the bottom-line, as revealed by the nation-wide survey on child abuse, perhaps being born as a Muslim girl in West Bengal is, so points out the National Family Health Survey II.

Be it education, media exposure (watching TV, cinema), health family planning or even in basic decision-making like whether a woman should visit her parents, go to market, or take care of her health, it is the Hindu women, who stalk much higher than their Muslim counterparts.

The National Family Health Survey II has pointed out a glaring gap of more than 50% backwardness among Muslim women, when compared with their Hindu counterparts, in key areas as education and health awareness.

For instance, the survey points out about 56.8 % of Muslim women has no media exposure as against 32.7 % of Hindu women.

Under media exposure, the survey shows that while 6.5% of Muslim women bother to read newspaper as against 17.8% of Hindu women, only 22.3% is interested in watching TV and 30% in listening radio as against 47.2% of Hindu women watching TV and 45% listening radios.

While educational backwardness, illiteracy are reasons of lack of information, TV watching or going to cinema are generally not encouraged because of religious reasons. Principal secretary of Social Welfare department, S.N. Haque, when asked on this said that even till recent times many affluent families would go without TV sets because pictures of women and men and the kind of clothes they wear, being aired, are prohibited in Islam. They are considered “najayez” in our religion.

Islam prefers women being covered up and being properly dressed with minimum exposure of skin. Even men are not allowed to go about in public in anything short of knee-length.

On newspaper reading habit, Haque said that since literacy rate of Muslim women is 20% less than that of Hindu women, reading newspaper is yet to catch up. Even very few Muslim homes keep daily newspaper. Men are in the habit of reading newspapers from local tea-stalls or stationery shop. “It is considered as an unnecessary expenses,” said Mr Haque.

What is worse, GK about anything, for example AIDS, is disastrously low. While only 10.3% of Muslim women have heard about AIDS, 31.2% of Hindu women are aware and updated on AIDS. Again while 47.8% of Hindu women is clueless about avoiding AIDS, nearly double the number of Muslim women (73.8%) is unaware how AIDS could be avoided. The state government has sampled a number causes behind educational backwardness: economic constraints, lack of school facilities in the locality, prejudice regarding education of women.

In health sector, knowledge about immunization, medication is poor among Muslim women. While there are cases of 24.5% fully immunized Muslim infants, the percentage is more than double (52.0%) in case of Hindu infants. Again, Muslim children, receiving one dose of Vitamin A, account to only 27.5% against 50.5% Hindu children, who are administered the dose.

In fact, while 80% of child deliveries among Muslims is not attended by doctors or trained health workers, only 40% of deliveries in Hindu families happens without supervision of any trained-on hands.

While cases of reproductive health problems, mal-nourishment are higher among Muslim women, the percentage of Muslim women suffering from anemia is much less, because consumption of red-meat among them is quite high.

Incidentally, though only 37.6% of Muslim women use modern contraceptive methods as against 50.2% Hindu women, the Muslim women are more open to discussing family planning with their husbands than their Hindu counterparts. Nearly 20.3% women can freely talk with their husband on family planning, whereas Hindu women would rather discus it with mother, sister, friends, neighbours and even daughters.

1. Reads newspaper at least once a week
Muslim–6.5%    Hindu—17.8%

2. Not exposed to media
Muslim–56.8%….Hindu—32.7

3. Percentage involved in decision making on own health care

Muslim–42%—Hindu—46%
4.Access to money

Muslim–42.5% …Hindu–54.0%

5. Knowledge about AIDS

Muslims–10.3%….Hindus–31.2%

Romita Datta, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, April 12, 2007

http://www.nfhsindia.org/westbeng.html

India ranks low in percentage of women in Lower House

March 6, 2007

New York, March 4 (PTI): Despite efforts to empower women, India ranks very low at 108th position among 189 countries so far as the percentage of women lawmakers in its lower house of Parliament is concerned.

Interestingly, Pakistan is much higher at 48th position and Nepal shares the 63rd spot with Italy. But Sri Lanka, placed at 124th and Bhutan (131st) follow India, according to statistics released by the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

China occupies 49th position and Bangladesh, which has 45 of 345 parliamentary seats reserved for women, is at the 72nd spot.

The ranking is based on the percentage of seats in the Lower House or a single House, but does not take into consideration the Upper House. Some of the countries do better because they have seats reserved for women.

The top five spots are occupied by Rwanda, Sweden, Costa Rica, Finland and Norway. Rwanda’s lower house has 48.8 per cent women and Sweden 47.3 per cent. At the bottom of table are Qatar, Saudi Arabia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu which have no women lawmaker.

The United States holds the 67th position and Britain shares the 52nd spot with Dominican Republic. Worldwide, the statistics show almost 17 per cent of parliamentarians are now women – an all time high. In 1995, only 11.3 per cent of all parliamentary seats were held by women.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) released the statistics on women in parliament following elections in 51 countries (61 chambers of parliament) in 2006.

Increases in the number of women were registered in more than 60 per cent of the chambers that were renewed, with women winning 16.7 per cent of all parliamentary seats up for grabs in 2006. Of the women who won seats, 1,459 were directly elected, 63 were indirectly elected, and 35 were appointed.

The IPU’s statistics also reveal that electoral gender quotas were used in 23 countries to bolster women’s participation. In those countries with gender quotas, women took 21.7 per cent of seats as opposed to 11.8 per cent in countries with no quotas.

In January 2007, there were more women presiding officers of parliament than ever before: 35 out of a total 262 worldwide, according to IPU statistics.

Women speakers were elected for the first time in Gambia, Israel, Swaziland, Turkmenistan and the United States of America.

Three Gulf Cooperation Council States recorded significant political changes, IPU notes, adding that in the United Arab Emirates, both women and men stood for re-election and voted for the first time in the country’s history.

Nine women entered parliament, taking 22.5 per cent of the seats. Women stood for elections for the first time in Kuwait as well, but none won.

In Bahrain, one woman was elected to the Lower House for the first time in that country.

Inter Parliamentary Union, Latest Data here
The Hindu , March 4, 2007

India : A rape in every 28 Minutes

November 29, 2006

CHANDREYEE CHATTERJEE, The Telegraph , Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Calcutta, Nov. 27: Incidents of violence against women are on the rise in India, with one act of sexual harassment being reported every 12 minutes, one rape every 28 minutes and one dowry death every 67 minutes. And these are just the tip of the iceberg, as most cases go unreported.

“In a situation such as this, we feel it’s time to actively involve men in the struggle to stop violence against women,” said Anuradha Kapoor, director, Swayam, a non-profit women’s organisation committed to ending violence against women and children.

Swayam is organising a campaign in Calcutta to stop violence against women, in association with DRIK India, an alternative media organisation, and International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT), an international forum for personal contact and professional development among women broadcasters.

The campaign is part of an international initiative originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute, sponsored by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. It kicked off on November 25 with a mass awareness programme, including an exhibition of posters and performances by the theatre and music groups of Swayam.

The campaign ends on December 10, marking International Human Rights Day. “This period has a special significance. It coincides with the International Day against Violence against Women, World AIDS Day and World Disability Day,” said Kapoor.

Swayam’s campaign will feature workshops by artists and rights activists, photography exhibitions, panel discussions and film shows.

Filmmaker Goutam Ghosh, actor Rahul Bose and others will speak on issues like violence against women and the need to involve men in the attempt to eradicate the menace.

India an ‘all-rounder’ in sex trade : UN Report

September 5, 2006

September 8, 2006

New Delhi – India has the dubious distinction of being a sort of ‘all-rounder’ in the sex trade. It is one of the very few countries in the globe that rank high as origin, destination as well as transit points in this murky business.

Among the others which are both major sources and destinations are Pakistan, China, Cambodia and, not surprisingly, Thailand.

This shameful fact emerges from State of the World Population 2006, a report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released on Wednesday.

The report, which focuses on migration, lists trafficking as one of the greatest risks to women during the process of migration.

According to the report, though the trafficking industry’s revenue is globally estimated to be about $7 billion to $ 12 billion, the traffickers probably netted an additional $32 billion from re-trafficking and from the labour of the trafficked victim.

Southeast Asia and South Asia, the report says, are home to the largest numbers of internationally trafficked persons.

In Asia, most of the trafficking takes place within or from the region, which explains why India, Pakistan China, Thailand and Cambodia double up as both destinations as well as source areas for traffickers.

India and Pakistan also serve as transit points for trafficking into the Middle East, according to the report.

Though the report does not give any precise country-wise data on trafficking, there are two different colour-coded maps showing destination countries and origin countries for trafficking.

The five Asian countries figure in the “high” or “very high” category on both counts. In most other cases, countries that are major origins – like Russia or Brazil – rank as “very low” or “medium” when it comes to being destinations.

Similarly, major destinations like the US or Japan report either low or negligible numbers of outward movement of sex workers.

45 % of the women feels unsafe in Delhi : Study

February 12, 2006

NEW DELHI: With crime against women in the national capital increasing, around 45 percent of women in the city do not feel they are safe at their workplace. The findings are made in the first Human Development Report of Delhi. The report was released on Thursday. According to it, 45 percent of the women felt that they were not at all safe at work place while 43 percent felt that they were somewhat secure at the workplace. Not surprisingly, Delhi leads the four metro cities for crime against women. The report said for every 10,000 people, 14 cases of crime against women were reported while Chennai stood at seven and Mumbai and Kolkata at five.

“Delhi has emerged as quite an unsafe city for women,” said Sheila Dikshit, chief minister of Delhi. Public safety had emerged as one of the grave concerns after reading the report, she said.

The chief minister said the report indicated that only six percent of the women felt safe at workplace despite Delhi being the national capital. Around 19 percent people interviewed felt the city was unsafe, she said.

“One-third of the people in the survey have confessed personal safety in the city was poor,” said Dikshit. Opinion of half of the people that the city was unsafe for women is another concern, she added.

However, the chief minister said since Delhi Police was not under her control there was little she could do.

“Since many different agencies are involved in the city, there is duplicity of work which has caused lack of accountability,” said Dikshit.

According to the study, only 24 percent people felt Delhi Police was doing a good job in terms public safety.