Partners of CERI celebrated 100 mothers in India who, despite unimaginable challenges, are raising their children in a healthy way, laying a strong foundation for their entire community. At a unique family-strengthening event, mothers from the urban resettlement slum of Madhanpur Khadar were celebrated for their roles in nurturing the next generation of productive citizens. This particular slum is prone to earthquakes, child trafficking, crime, drug abuse, poverty, unemployment and domestic abuse with a dense population of over 150,000 residents.
The 100 mothers were chosen for this celebration because they thrive in unstable environment, and despite obstacles, they successfully meet their family’s needs and safeguard their children. One the most challenging situations in this slum, as in most of the other slums in Delhi and bigger cities of India, is the threat of human trafficking. Every day, these mothers live with the threat of losing their children to vile human traffickers who constantly search for young children to prey upon.
This event empowered mothers with the knowledge of how to improve safety for their children, and how to keep them safe from human traffickers that are ever-increasing in the area.
A recent article about the spread of child trafficking in New Delhi noted that more than 20,000 sexual trafficking cases of women and girls were documented in 2016. The author noted that the prime destinations for female trafficking victims in India include Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat and Hyderabad, as per US State Department’s latest Trafficking in Persons Report. Further, the report states poverty and a lack of education are clearly impactful enabling factors. In 2014, the World Bank estimated that 179.6 million Indians were living on less than $1.78 per day, based on 2011 purchasing power parity. A 2015 Unesco report, meanwhile, found that India was the country with the largest number of adults lacking basic literacy, at 287 million. India also has the second-highest number of child marriages, according to a UN report.
In Madhanpur Khadar, active human trafficking agents wander the streets in search of victims. The mothers are the front line and often the only gatekeepers to keep their children safe. These mothers are usually coping with problems such as mental health issues due to extreme stress, unhealthy coping mechanisms and manifestations of abuse towards their own children as a result of extreme prolonged stress. When the husbands are out-of-work or substance abusers, these problems are compounded as the wife and mother must be the sole breadwinner and caregiver.
Additionally, in Khadar, crime rings thrive without interference from corrupt law enforcement officers. This is evident from the fact that, despite being a high crime location, police protect brothel owners in exchange for bribes that include sexual services. Unsurprisingly, there is a low conviction rate – of 11,720 arrests made for trafficking in 2015, only 2,139 individuals were convicted.
Centre of Excellence in Alternative Care, India (an organization supported by Core Assets), implemented this event as part of a planned series in India.