Sunday, May 21, 2017

LIFE SO FAR...


It is the first time in my adult life that I have had 12 days of reflection before my birthday!
On 7th May,2017 I had a near collapse at Kolkatta Airport while on my way to Bhubneshwar to address a gathering which my good friend Sujit Mahapatra(Bakul Foundation) had organized. After some dramatic moments including an ambulance at Hyderabad Airport to take me to Apollo Hospital, I was operated on 8th May. A nice looking…practically oval shaped 35mm stone was lodged in my gall bladder. The surgeon Dr Sainath did a great job…I have the stone as a memento in my study! After 4 days of hospital stay, I decided I will stay in my ashram, for multiple reasons, one of them being, to be near my work place as much as possible.

The last 12days were days of reflection. Have I been fair to myself and my body? Were the decisions and choices I made in my life the right ones?  Do I need to have a separate lens for times when I might be helpless and need assistance?
Being a fulltime volunteer for the last two decades, was never a regretful choice…it was difficult at times but since my personal needs are so few…it never really acted as a big hurdle. My occasional consultancies, speaking engagements, part of my awards was more than enough to sustain my life. After I got married to Raj in 2006, it was even more easier as he took care of the food & shelter and clothing was always my younger sister’s domain. 

But this time when Raj had to pay my hospital bills…I for the first time realized I do not even have a medical insurance. Something that I have ensured for all my girls, I personally do not have it. My physician Dr Rajib Paul tells me that this stone has grown this size in the last 3years…I did not even have a whiff of it…occasional abdominal pains were always about indigestion and gas which was best sorted with a home remedy of eating raw ginger with lemon…
Why is it that I became deaf to the call of my own body…while  I am so tuned to the call of pain anywhere else outside.  I am blessed that my wonderful partner, my team and all my girls looked after me so well in the last few days…but is there something that I need to learn for myself  now?
I am 45 today…I am not growing young…each moment, each day, each year adds urgency to my mission…long way to go before I accomplish what I was sent to do in this world.  I cannot afford to collapse physically before my tasks are completed….I need to find a way to nurture and care for this vehicle…which will take me closer to my destination.
My lens as I view myself today is  slowly modifying…I want to service and maintain this vehicle on a moment to moment basis so that it is in super condition as we travel this long journey….I also want to nurture and cherish each one in my journey so that some day, someone among them will continue this mission, when I will no longer be able to travel…

Life so far….has been beautiful and blessed….each moment nourishing me…creating opportunities for learning & growing…and most importantly giving me the vision to see and experience ‘God’ at every step.   Each one of you out there is part of my God experience.
As I celebrate my life today…I thank each one of you for being part of my journey in some way or other…




    

Friday, December 30, 2016

THE YEAR IT WAS!







A year has gone by. When I look back this perhaps was the most turbulent and the most jubilant year. I remember last year on the same day I hurt my leg, dragged myself with a hairline fracture to have a darshan of Lord Balaji at Tirupati...limped my way to start a first of its kind community awakening caravan to combat trafficking Swaraksha!
The shock of getting a Padmashree lingered for a long time, I still wonder after a year who actually nominated me.Being recognized by our own government is a massive leap for my mission, after years finally a cause like ours is acknowledged! Significantly this year also saw government recognition from several countries such Germany and France.
But the year was also about struggling to construct our new campus, the mounting debts, an attack on our new shelter home, challenges with FCRA,some weird and painful rescues and of course the most depleting one personal slander. I do not think I have overcome all of it, but I know from the deepest of my being "this too shall pass".
I will forever cherish 2016, for bringing me closer to my soul family...a large community of wonderful human beings who believe in my mission as much as I do...
Now as I get ready to usher in 2017, I more stronge...more wise...more bright...more empathetic...more humble....and most importantly more grateful for life...I surrender myself completely to that creator who chose me for this mission...every moment is a blessing!
Wishing you a another year of great moments...of new learnings, hope, triumphs & failures!!!!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

DEMONTIZATION-FROM MY LENS




On Nov 8th 2016, when the Hon’ble Prime Minister announced demonetizing of Rs500/ & Rs 1000/, it did not ring any alarm bells in my ear. My only concern was the Rs 7000/ in 500/’s which I had to deposit. After a while, when it started finally sinking what this is all about, I was super thrilled-finally black money in various forms will be targeted. I remembered the trauma and struggle I had to go through while purchasing land for Prajwala when we could not  even find one seller ready to do a complete white transaction. Infact we lost over two months just in search of a land owner who is willing to sell his land on a white transaction. It was a vindication of a sort thinking about the thousands of real estate agents who were in deep lurch that day.
In the days to come, my thrill and happiness grew by leaps and bounds when I noticed a drastic fall in the number of women and girls rescued from prostitution being admitted in our shelter. After 15days we were able to see for ourselves that there was a drastic reduction in the number of sex buyers as there was currency crunch and in Hyderabad where prostitution is more decentralized in apartments and hotels suddenly there was a lull. My colleagues in other parts of the country also reported the same.
We felt this acutely in Yadadri a temple town where a small community of women practice prostitution as a way of life. We have a learning center for their children in that area. On one occasion this month when I had to meet the women they sheepishly requested me whether midday meal could be given to the children as they were practically starving. Using that as an opportunity I once again (I had done this many times before too) offered them exit options. And to my utter surprise over 46 of them who had come for the mothers meeting readily agreed that it was time they choose an alternative life option. Definitely the entire sex trafficking industry was shaken by demonetization! To me the best surgical strike ever to counter this crime.
But on an another level I started feeling the pinch. We run three very large shelter homes  for child and adult victims of trafficking. Although as part of transparency & good governance in the last three years we had systematically ensured that all our transactions are cashless including fruit and vegetable vendors are paid online, still cash is required on a regular basis. We have tried to deal with all the small inconveniences but when you have hundreds of lives dependent on you, many of whom being HIV positive it is not that easy to be cashless. Our crises started when banks continued to be filled with long queues(In Hyderabad, I don’t know why most nationalized banks are in a state of perpetual chaos).
We started sending a staff to stand in the queue early in the morning so that atleast by midday small requirements is fulfilled. The second problem came with ATM’s practically over 50% of the ATM in Hyderabad don’t work, and the ones which do, they do not have enough cash to last the day. So when staff whose monthly salaries is their only sustenance could not even pay their rents in December as they could neither go to the banks nor the ATM’s it became not so very pleasant. We declared a working day as a holiday so that the staff could go the bank, but only some of them could finish their work. This situation with the banks and ATM’s continue to pinch us in multiple ways. I guess it becomes slightly upsetting after a month when you cannot even use the cash that legitimately belongs to you. The hours in banks and ATM’s after a while is not that “feel good” as you are able to withdraw only a little although you might have a higher requirement.
I do not think any Indian is against demonetization, provided one does not require to go to the bank every week or hunt for an ATM in several cities!!! I am also fairly positive with interactions with thousands of Indians that everybody is happy to be subjected to inconveniences for a temporary period of time for the larger good.   

But when mind-sets do not change and people find millions ways to cheat it gets on to your nerves. My blood boils when new currency notes are unearthed during IT raids. When the larger public is struggling for Rs 2000/ there are selected few who are siphoning in large scale. I think these characters should be dealt separately and the punitive measure should be on the lines of aggravated crime. At one end you respect Bankers for doing their best in these difficult times, but you also want to get hold of those who are responsible for siphoning.

On my mission ofcourse the most important takeaway-if the demand is hit the entire organized crime will be hit and the supply chain will crumble. I know right now this is temporary and criminals are applying their minds creatively and innovatively how to bridge this phase, but if the Government on a war footing initiate interventions to address demand ie if sex buyers are deterred, I do believe trafficking of millions of women and children for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation will drastically reduce. Maybe it is high time Government looks at a singular option of criminalizing demand. This ofcourse should be simultaneously backed by holistic package comprising of psycho-social support, health care services including de-addiction, employability training, employment options, educational support and therapeutic safe homes for adult and child victims.
Definitely if the all the ministries, corporates and the civil society organizations joined hands, it is possible. But is the Government willing to take this bold move to end sex slavery?        

       



Monday, May 16, 2016

Is abusing others, freedom of speech?

Ages since I blogged, no excuses...just laziness to peg my thoughts...
For a few months now I have been very concerned about the 'Tolerance' debate, great people have returned awards, there have been a lot of talk all round about the increasing 'intolerance' shown by the present Government. There are state governments who are interfering with people's food habits...etc. All these are definitely a matter of serious concern.

But to me a more serious concern is the way people behave on the social networking platforms. If one does not agree with a particular viewpoint, there are people who will become very nasty and mean start a personalized attack on the person questioning their integrity and their credibility all because they differed from what you had to say. I faced it couple of times this year and last year, when some posts I made had people agreeing and disagreeing. But some of the persons who differed would not leave it at that, they would start personally attacking me...one even said "after she has got her padmashree she has become right wing" or "how much was I paid to make the comment" or "worst still if you running a NGO just do that" one woman even said "I used to respect her, now I don't".

I am baffled and wonder what riggers such mean aggression. I have seen people calling other names in such derogatory fashion that you actually cringe. Can you not state a point without abusing somebody? Is this not intolerance? I understand freedom of speech and the need for it. I have travelled to China and many other countries where freedom of speech is greatly curtailed....But does freedom of speech means you abuse anybody and everybody and call them names...all because you do not agree with a particular perspective.

Social media has taken visibility to greater heights. Today if people like me are known even among a few, it is because of this dynamic platform. I use it, respect it and nurture it as tool for me to connect with the larger world.  Whether I am impacting anybody here or not is something that I am not seriously concerned, but definitely I use this platform to share my thoughts and my opinion...maybe some of it may have a wrong timing...maybe I have my own agenda to do the same...but of late I am becoming a little wary of this platform and have started thinking that suppose my honest opinion about something is not appreciated by somebody, I may not just get a differing opinion, which of course is truly enlightening for me, as many a times these differing thoughts have made me look at the same issue from a different way...but I may be abused and my integrity might be questioned...

Is it that we don't know how to differ? or we feel anonymity grants us the freedom to use a language and expression which can be very hurting and painful...

As much as the world pays attention and respects to my comments, I also do the same to the world and maybe that is why I read offensive comments about me as much as I read the ones that appreciate me..

 


Saturday, February 21, 2015

FROM HUMAN RIGHTS MOVIE TO HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

I was just reading some old posts of mine and felt compelled to update my readers on the latest on several issues I had raised.

First of all "Naa Bangaaru Talli"(my dearest daughter) our telugu film on sex trafficking was released in November 2014. It is truly an honor and pride to declare that we released the film by crowd-funding, a first of its kind in the Tollywood industry. It is also an indication of the extraordinary love and support we have received from our friends and well-wishers from all over the world. 546 donors from across the world donated 35 lakhs which was used to release the film in 40 theaters in Andhra Pradesh & Telangana. Here I need to also express my heartfelt gratitude to milap.org and Reliance Entertainment. Milap for facilitating the crowd funding and Reliance for being my release partner. And Sanjay Maswan thank you so much for connecting me to Milap.

Some other people like Mega star Chiranjeevi and actress Samantha Prabhu raised the bar of visibility of the film to such heights that was completely unimaginable to me or Rajesh. MAA TV came to our rescue thanks to Amala Akkineni who entered our lives as an angel to tangibly show us the conspiracy of Universe. She sowed the seed of crowd funding in my head, she also pushed the top honchos of MAA TV to watch the movie which ended in the satellite rights being sold. So some revenue raised.
If I do not mention the support of my friend Kannan and his team at Mentorware, I will be committing a  gross injustice. This is a friendship of unconditional love, and everyday from the day they came into my life,I have thanked God for the beauty and generosity of universe.

Well the movie created history of sorts, it was the first telugu film in the last 23 years to get 3 national awards. It also won 5 international awards. But the real award was when the movie ran in packed theaters in Andhra Pradesh & Telangana for 6 weeks. As the number of theaters were less it cannot be called a commercial success as we did not recover our money. But what we got, money cannot buy!

For those who missed the film please watch it on 8th March on MAA TV. I will definitely ensure that the movie will reach the remotest part of telugu speaking communities by this year end.

From movies to human rights. Many of my blogs in the last many months have spoken about the attacks we were facing. As a Human Rights Defender it always bothered me that the society at large did not really value good work. It was easy for them to chase a grease painted reel hero to a real hero fighting injustices in the society. I got an opportunity to vent out my feelings as a speaker at the National Human Rights Commission workshop for Human Rights Defenders. I recommended the following:
1. A national declaration on Human Rights Defenders by National Human Rights Commission(NHRC), acknowledging and valuing their work.
2.A First Response Mechanism within NHRC to swiftly respond to Human Rights Defenders when they are in danger, witch-hunted or are in situation where solidarity by a credible National Human Rights Body is the need of the hour.
3. "Assault Alarm" a technology driven wrist band that will through GPS tracking send distress signals to public through social media and other mechanism when there is a physical threat to a life of a Human Rights Defender.
4. Human Rights Defenders Day to celebrate the work of unsung defenders and also acknowledge their vulnerabilities.
5. Nurturing and building the capacities of Human Rights Defenders on Secure Communication, Physical safety, Digital safety etc
6. Emergency Fund within NHRC to support Human Rights Defenders who need medical support, relocation support.
Barring the first one all other recommendations reflected in the final recommendations.

Well with #ShameTheRapistCampaign and all other interventions I am already involved with I feel the need to constantly update and ensure the right information is with you regarding what  I am doing in my own words. 
Living for the moment and loving every second of it, I cherish the fact that I am investing my life the right way. 


    

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

# ShameTheRapistCampaign



It was 4th Feb 2015, a Wednesday. I had just come back from work late in the evening when I got a frantic call from a young man whom I had met in one of my lecture sessions. His voice was troubled and he sounded in deep distress. He told me that he had gone to visit his cousin at his office on that day when his cousin told him about two videos he had received on ‘whatsapp’. When he saw the videos his blood curled. Not knowing what to do he had called me. I told him to send me the videos. I also cautioned him that many morphed videos are also on the rounds and with so much pornography  all kinds of things are passed around.
Within half an hour both the videos reached me. I had a shock of my life when I viewed the videos. For a minutes I was nauseated. Two videos, one 8.5 mins long of a gang rape of a girl by five men and another 4.5 mins long of rape of a girl by a man. Both the videos were being recorded by somebody else whom the men were aware of but that person’s face is not captured. What was shocking was the look on the faces of all the six young men, whom now I would like to call as “rapist”, in any case they were flaunting their dastardly act. They were all smiling and making snide remarks. One guy was even masturbating while the other was raping the girl. The impunity of the act was mind boggling. Not only these lowly creatures had committed the worst form of violation but they also had the audacity to flaunt it and disseminate it in a public domain.
To me this was not only a slap on the criminal justice system but also on everyone who has even a small iota of humanity left in them. What gave these creatures the confidence to blow their trumpet about something which I would call the worst form of human rights violation.
And then I decided ENOUGH IS ENOUGH…this is a war and we need to fight it with the right strategy. For too many centuries the victim has been shamed, victimized, isolated, ostracized and stigmatized for a crime she has never committed. For too long the world at large chose to remain silent on the perpetrators and abusers. The result, we have created an enabling environment of impunity. This combined with our criminal justice system which has repeatedly failed in rising up to the occasion to create deterrence has completed the cycle of lawlessness. 
Today men committing such heinous crimes, have no remorse or guilt, on the contrary they celebrate their brutality with sickening mentality. Equally shocking is the fact that many of us have such disgusting voyeuristic tastes that we have not only viewed such videos but also helped these rascals in spreading the message.
On Thursday 5th Feb 2015 at 2.30pm I started #ShameTheRapistCampaign, I edited these videos, made it to 1 minute and 30 secs, blurred the images of the victim completely, highlighted the faces of the rapist, ensuring that people who see the video may get an idea of the region/locality by the languages these guys were speaking. It was obvious to me that it was not in South India.  I posted these videos on ‘youtube’ and launched my campaign to trace these rapist, shame them and hand over them to the authorities. In a couple of hours comments from all over the world started pouring in supporting the campaign. Most friends from media were silent, maybe they had not seen it, but NDTV spotted it and decided to support my campaign.
Next day ie 6th Feb 2015 at 9.30am I spoke about the campaign live on NDTV. Within minutes my car was vandalized.  I do not know whether to connect these two or not. I have done enough in my life to antagonize hundreds of people. I have been battling against the organized crime of sex trafficking for the last two decades. I am not in dearth of enemies.  But the campaign was already 12 hours old, so definitely there is a niggling feeling that somewhere it could be connected. Maybe not the men I am exposing, but others who have committed similar crimes and are presuming that I may have their videos too!
Thanks to the vandals, the campaign got a greater boost( every adversity has an opportunity). Media was all around me reporting the campaign. The campaign to me is going in the right direction as I received hundreds of mails and messages supporting it.  I also started receiving some other videos from all over the country. Around 11 mails came identifying one of the rapist. Many mails and calls came informing me that they had already seen these videos many months back.
Ofcourse I also got a lot of offensive pornographic mails, which felt as if they were saying “catch me if you can”. I even filed a case in the cyber cell. In the meantime the local police came and took the two videos for further investigation.  
My intention was not to just start a campaign on social media, but also to advocate for a mechanism to tackle this entire issue. So on my front I decided to take up the issue at the following levels:

1.     Request for a CBI probe on all the videos I was handing over to the Ministry of Home Affairs.(Apart from the first two videos, I had also recieved many others)
2.     Recommend to set up a task force in the Home Ministry to tackle sexual crimes.
3.     To create public friendly anonymous system where citizens can report such crimes within the Home Ministry.
4.     To set up a National Sex Offenders Directory of convicted sex offenders. This will not only name & shame convicted offenders, citizen will also get face to the offense. This is already in practice in many countries.
5.     Ministry of Home Affairs to have an agreement with youtube and ‘whatsapp’ to pass on any such offensive videos and to take it up suo motto.

With great difficulty I managed to get an appointment with the Home Secretary,Govt Of India whom I appraised him of the situation and also give in writing all my recommendations. For whatever it is worth it, he did give me a fair hearing and said all the right things. But till I do not see any real action, I will take all this with a pinch of salt.  In any case I have kept my backup plan ready.

In the meantime I also started hearing a lot of criticism about my campaign. In the beginning I was not able to fathom what was really hassling them. What could anyone have against ‘shaming a rapist’ who was already flaunting his crime?
But then slowly I realized many of the criticisms were about the video I had posted. It was pointed out that I had ignored the plight of the victims when they see such videos being played on ‘youtube’. It would amount to re-traumatization. Fair enough! But my question is when these videos were being passed around across the country with the faces of the victims for everybody to see, why did people not protest at that time. A good number of people who wrote to me told me they already seen these videos many months back. And these were people from various part of the country.
Was my blurring the faces of the victim a problem? Were people offended as they could see the act, but were able to see only the sinister laughs of these men.

Definitely I empathize with the pain of the victim. Having survived it myself and also after taking care of hundreds of such victims. But the fight for justice is not going to be a pleasant one. Especially in a context when the rapist/abuser does not even feel an iota of shame or remorse, but the victim is made to feel  shame & guilt in abundance. Till date the civil society has not even articulated their stand against the rapists/sex offenders/abusers. In any case we have collectively failed in creating an environment of deterrence and shame for the abuser….and I feel such a campaign is the first step towards it.

I am also aware that this can be misused. Men & woman have the capacity to misuse. Just because a person is born a woman, it does not mean she might not have criminal tendencies or she is holier than thou. There is a small but significant number of fake rape cases also reported. I hope in the course of time as this campaign spreads we will have more and more people applying their mind to ensure how these kind of campaigns are not misused and innocent human beings are not harassed.
I request your suggestions to make this campaign stronger and powerful…lets together be part of a movement to make this world a safe place for all of us.
           
      

Sunday, October 12, 2014

STATE CONNIVANCE OR APATHY?

This has been one of the most traumatic week of my life time. A mob attack from within!!!
 A few weeks back, 7 girls rescued by Gopalapuram police,Secunderabad were admitted in our shelter through court order. In just 3 days we were uncomfortable with these women, there was something sinister about them. This was further reinforced when 30 other girls who were cheery and full of life, willing to learn new trades started showing signs of hostility. In a few hours we realized that these were 7 traffickers posing as victims…in essence infiltrators and the 30 girls belonged to their gang.
I immediately informed the concerned court, and the magistrate was clueless on what has to be done as the police had shown these women as victims in their FIR.
Although we were alert and for weeks together there was no sign of any trouble…what we did not realize is that a huge conspiracy was being hatched.
Last week on Durgashtami day, these 37 instigated another 100 and mobbed the shelter from within…unimaginable violence, 5-6lakh worth property was damaged(truck, tata sumo all vehicles including)  and 16 people were injured including 4 staff. As the girls slashed others with broken pieces of glasses and stoned the shelter…over 300 others were shivering with fright and praying for their lives.
They had planned to do this on a day when I am not in town and they had presumed that I was traveling to Delhi. Unfortunately for them my plans had changed and I was very much in the city. I was able to mobilize police support and start from Hyderabad immediately(shelter is 65 kms from Hyderabad). With the timely support of the local police who mobilized force from nearby stations we were able to control the mob within the campus. I shudder to think, even if one girl had come out of the campus…what a field day media would have had and what all I will have to answer! Much later I came to know that media was already informed and they were desperately waiting for some news outside…a district addition did go ahead  and print something about fishy happenings inside our shelter…
It has taken 6 days and 6 nights for me to bring back some sense of hope and confidence in 450 women and children living in our therapeutic community. I had to speak to each one of them…and 90% of them were traumatized by what they saw…and kept repeating they always thought our shelter was much more safer than their own homes…but today they are scared and feel at a dead end…if not this place…where can they go?
Between all this deep within me there unbearable pain and anguish. I wonder every moment now on the truths I unraveled during this time:
-The fact that the Gopalpuram police knew these were traffickers and yet send them to our shelter especially when all these girls were supposed to give their statement in the court next week and the police is aware of it. When I confronted the police their logic was if we send them to jail they will get bail and they will become even more hardened, atleast in Prajwala we are sure they will get reformed. Was it compliment or connivance I wonder?
-The fact that Prajwala is the only licensed home for such specialized care for sex trafficked victims both in Telangana & Andhra Pradesh. And police from all over India just keep dumping girls on our head through court orders. There is not a single Government run shelter home for this cause. Where is the state accountability to deal with this problem?
-The fact that Centrally sponsored Ujjwala scheme is a disaster to say the least. The scheme does not even acknowledge both in word and action that sex trafficking is an organized crime and homes getting this scheme should get adequate/proportionate security. The implementation and disbursement is even more pathetic…consequently 80% of fraudulent NGO’s are only accessing the scheme.
-The fact that in this country there is no victim witness protection scheme which can ensure that all victim witnesses in these cases are provided adequate protection post their stay in safe house….so what is their fate when they leave our shelters? And therefore why should they testify at all? State does not protect them…I can give only for a limited period of time….and the perpetrators thanks to our brilliant criminal justice system will get a bail and will be waiting for the victim outside my shelter as soon as she is out!
Today I am feeling so choked and frustrated…there is only so much I can do as an individual and an organization. The State neither acknowledges this problem nor is willing to place resources to fight this crime…
We at one end struggle with resource crunch…at another fight the sex mafia but the biggest fight is against the society and State for its apathy and rejection. 

After rescuing 12,000 girls from prostitution and attempting to rehabilitate and reintegrate them I am still wondering…will I ever make an impact?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

CROWD FUNDING FOR DISTRIBUTION



Mortaged my house,staked everything I owned so that a never before told true story of sex trafficking is made into a feature film “Naa bangaaru Talli”(www.naabangaarutalli.com). I had to tell this to the world before I go to my grave!!!

It won seven international awards and three national awards, and everybody who has seen the film says I thought this will be a award film, but this is super family thriller”

And yet I struggle to find a distributer…I need Rupees 15 lakhs to have a modest release across Andhra Pradesh & Telangana. And I seek your support to make it happen as I hope to release “Naa bangaaru Talli” by end October 2014.  This money I have to raise by 4th October 2014 so that I can order for the publicity material/TV ads/newspaper Ads/hoardings/posters etc…etc and also get the theaters.  Contribute whatever you can to ensure this story is heard by all. All contributions should reach the following on or before 4th October.
A/c Name:  SUNTOUCH PRODUCTIONS
A/c No.:     911020050297659
Bank:        AXIS BANK LTD
Branch:      MEDHIPATNAM
Location:    HYDERABAD
IFSC Code: UTIB0000426

Friday, May 16, 2014

AN OPEN LETTER TO CHIEF OF BOKO HARAM


                                                                                       14th May 2014

Dear Abubukar Shekau,

NAMASTE!

I am not sure whether you have heard the word Namaste. This is an Indian word to greet others which means “I bow before the goodness in you”. And that is what I want I want to do right now, before I express the reason for writing to you an open letter.

My name is Sunitha Krishnan, I am an anti-trafficking activist, based in Hyderabad a city located in South of India.  In the last two decades I have rescued and rehabilitated over 10,100 girls from sexual slavery.  I am a Hindu by faith, but a humanitarian by religion.

Last night I was watching all the videos that you have sent. And what stuck me the most is that we are both very much alike. Both of us are passionate and madly obsessed with our convictions. We have worked very hard to convince others of our beliefs and have been successful in getting a lot of people believe in our convictions. Both of us similarly think that there are oppressive forces that is destroying this world and there is an immediate need for radical intervention from every human being to change the situation.    

But the method you have chosen to actualize your convictions is something that I cannot endorse. I am sure the reason for which you are doing all this has a strong background and your objective is based on deep-rooted pain that you have experienced.  But nothing can justify mindless violence and force. What is the logic of kidnapping 272 girls and keeping them in captivity and threatening to sell them as sex slaves.

Do you think any of these people actually care when million out there are already getting sold every 10 minutes for sexual slavery. Come see any of the prostitution places across the world….millions of girls from all over the world are sold every minute to satisfy the libido of men across the world….children….girls…adults all of them traded so that there bodies can pecked by vultures….the world is SILENT…it does not matter to them that across the world predators are moving in different garbs…offering jobs, marriages…love anything to exploit vulnerability and then trade them…thousands of girls from Nigeria are also languishing in different parts of the World like Italy, German, Austria, ...
Who cares a damn? Does not the world community know about it…believe me everybody knows. But very few want to fight the organized criminal syndicates who are doing this. These are criminals who have no other agenda other than making “money”….using these innocent bodies…
Nobody is questioning ‘men all over the world’  who pay money to have sex with little children, girls….women…Why should they care? They think it will never happen to their near and dear ones. Let me tell you something, these men are not coming from another planet….they are sons, brothers, husbands, fathers of all of us here…. Does Anybody Care…Afraid NOT!  

Why do you want to be clubbed with these criminals? From what I heard you speak…to me it appeared you had a strong reason for your action. By letting your action become same as what any other criminals do…you are forcing the world to call you a ‘terrorist’. No matter how right your thoughts are but if your actions are wrong.....then you also will become ‘wrong’.
Please do not demean your thoughts further by resorting to actions that any human being will definitely condemn.
Children or any human being are not playthings…that you do anything that catches your fancy…Using violent methods, kidnap, forcing human beings to follow another religion under duress cannot bring any change in the world. On the contrary you are creating a situation where you will be more and more excluded. 

I was aghast when you laughingly proclaimed on your video that you will sell those innocent girls as “sex slaves”…Do you even understand what you are talking about? Do you have any idea what it is to a woman to be violated…again and again. Believe me…Allah will never forgive you even for a having a thought of that nature…He the merciful is compassionate and will never laugh at the pain and suffering of others…He will never EVER endorse forcible abduction and rape for the gratification of individual needs.
You have no right to kidnap those girls….and definitely no rights whatsoever to blackmail anybody so that they are forced to release your colleagues.
Do you realize that your action can motivate other evil & criminal forces to do similar things and that if your act is not stopped right away…children across the world are at risk to a similar plight but albeit to satisfy other agendas which may not be as “noble” as yours…Do you see the damage that you are party to…This mindless act of yours has shaken all the efforts of humanitarians across the world. STOP IT…BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE…YOU CANNOT BE THE REASON FOR HUMANS BECOMING SATANS.

I am fighting an organized crime….you are also claiming to fight oppressive forces…and I want to tell you ‘cultures’ are not oppressive…but “actions” can be oppressive…And the act that you have committed right now is downright unacceptable for anybody following any faith from any part of the world.
Anybody including ‘you’ if you act in a way that is destroying others…you are as oppressive as anybody else. You then lose the moral right to preach anything.
Please open your ears…and listen to the cries of the mothers wailing for their daughters who are now in your captivity…Please open your eyes and see the millions like me anguished by your act…

I demand to evoke the ‘goodness in you’…to let go the girls to their families. I say this as a passionate fighter like you who wants to bring change in the world…a new world order which is free of all forms of sexual slavery….Please do not become part of the Oppressive forces which brings in slavery….You are different….and I trust the goodness in you….the merciful Allah in you will guide you to do this rightly.

Believing that collective goodness will destroy evil anywhere in the world…and having faith in your ‘goodness & godliness’ to take the right decision.

With love & prayers,
Sunitha Krishnan
India