By Ram Khatry, Sydney
16 March 2017
As I read a disturbing report published by popular Indian website Youth Ki Awaz, I thought of the modern-day lamb industry where no part of the animal goes to waste. From the prized backstrap to its tough shanks, every part is put to the pot. The eater wants all of it.
Although the allusion may sound cruel and rather tasteless, young and unsuspecting Nepali women living in the hinterland have become the spring lamb for the pervert world. First men wanted a piece of their flesh but now women living in another part of the planet want their share too (quite literally) so that they can enlarge their shrinking breasts.
According to the Youth Ki Awaz report by Soma Basu, trafficked Nepali women are now not only coerced into selling their body in brothels but they are also tricked into selling their skin so that men and women in rich countries can enlarge their penis and breasts, respectively.
The sheer cruelty of it all! First, forced sex. Then kidneys. Now skin.
One kind of agent first plucks these Himalayan daughters from their pristine native villages (where, however painful their life could have been, they at least lived with dignity) and plants them in Mumbai brothels. As if they have not had their fair share of suffering in one lifetime, another kind now tricks these women into selling a chunk of their skin to pathological labs in India. Agents for these labs trawl the red light districts, the report indicated. Once processed, the skin is apparently sold to bigger labs who in turn use their license to export the human tissue to wester countries where it would be used to fulfill the nymphomaniacs’ wishes of having bigger and better sexual organs. Or for any other kind of plastic surgery.
And for what cost? One agent told the reporter that the skin-provider gets anywhere between five to ten thousand rupees only. That is to say, the women sell 20 square inch of their skin for a couple of hundred dollars?
Conniving agents of human traffickers trawl rural areas of Nepal in the form of benefactors, job agents and sometimes even relatives. How would someone living in the harshest of conditions not want to take once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by accepting a role in neighbouring Indian cities? Naturally, very often, they take the bait and end up in brothels.
The story of every trafficked woman would somewhat fit into this frame. For decades now, Nepali women have constantly been targeted by human traffickers who take them to big cities in India or even as far as the middle east and beyond, media reports often claim.
The first time I heard about prostitution I must have been a twelve or thirteen year old boy. Two grown-up farmhands at my father’s rice field were engaged in a naughty-sounding chat. I listened to them, understanding little but knowing all too clear that the big brothers were talking about the “thing” the existence of which had just dawned on my adolescence.
Today, we all know for a fact that prostitution isn’t funny. We know, thanks to the vigilant media, that brothels in big cities are all about deception, exploitation, shattered dreams, coercion, medieval violence on women, destroyed families and ruined childhoods.
In the more organised and rights-conscious west, prostitution may not always be what it is in the east. In developed countries, some voluntarily choose the trade as their career. It is their basic right to be able to choose their profession just as millions would choose to be doctors, professors, engineers, teachers, baristas, army officers, fighter pilots and many other lucrative professions. But nothing of the sort can be said about the trafficked women from impoverished rural parts of South Asia. Or, from many other Third World countries for that matter.
In the particular case of Nepal, the country’s government must immediately look into this news kind of “flesh trade” which if true is going to harm a hell lot of its citizens with raw scars on their back.
Women, Child and Social Welfare Minister Kumar Khadka reportedly told media that his government was shocked after reading the Youth Ki Awaz report and that it was looking into the matter.