Ruchira Gupta, an Indian sex trafficking abolitionist, journalist and activist talks about Lucy Liu’s important film, Meena, about the issues of modern day slavery and prostitution. The issue for Meena’s freedom was trying to get her children free; there was no proof of their identity or heritage.
When they were finally free, they could not get access to education or healthcare – they lacked an identity. The family cannot join us at the UN Summit today as they do not have passports. They are still being socially excluded because of the issue of identity.
Thousands of girls cannot get any services as they have no identity, and they fear approaching help as they do not want to be repatriated into the same situation of forced prostitution.
Traffickers, slave owners, often take the identities (passports, birth certificates) from the girls they hold and keep them in forced servitude. When girls go missing, how do we ensure that every girl is accounted for? Every girl must be linked to services, but they often do not know how to use the services.
Ruchira Gupta asks us to close our eyes and think of the last girl- in India she is a low caste, in America she is a girl from an ethnic minority, she is a teenager, she has no choice over her education, her chores or play, her diet or what she wears. That is the last girl who must be reached by identity; she is the most marginalised.
On why Gandhi travels third class:
Because there is no fourth class.