Worldwide Locations

Worldwide Locations

'The Selling of Innocents'

A still "The Selling of Innocents" (1996) Film by Ruchira Gupta

A still "The Selling of Innocents" (1996) Film by Ruchira Gupta

Question
I wanted to ask about how someone like Gupta stays alive. Is he permitted to go in and do raids to make it look like they’re doing something? He’s maybe one person who’s allowed to go in and there’s an understanding about it? I worked in Japan in this industry and I saw that that was the case. How are he and people like him, who I think are doing great work, allowed to continue their work, and what are the underpinnings of that?

Ruchira Gupta
Actually the way he works is that he has this network of male volunteers who pretend to be clients, and then they go inside the brothels and they find out which girl wants to come out. And she sort of has to give a letter to say that she wants to come out so they actually have proof. And then they go in and get the girl out. He almost, I think, shames the police system by doing this and so it’s very hard for them to openly challenge him.

Question
It’s more a comment than a question. We’re working from the end of trying to help the girls in the trade, the bar girls and the prostitutes, become educated…whether it’s literacy, whether it’s learning skills, whatever they want to learn, including craft development…we working to build to the economic base so that the girls can either leave the business if possible or to work in the villages to enable families to increase their income so they don’t have to sell their girls into this.

Ruchira Gupta
Yeah I’ve seen actually their program in Thailand, and I think it’s a fabulous, fabulous program. Of course it’s a very good program.

Moderator
I just want to thank all of you for coming and I think some of the questions brought up really great ideas about what NGOs can do, what other people can do, what the government can do, and what the government possibly can’t do, or what NGOs can’t do…and what women can do and what you as people, as everyday citizens can do too.