Siddharth Kara, author of Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery (now available in paper), has begun a weekly column for CNN.com that will document his trip around South Asia, looking at issues of forced labor, trafficking, and child bondage.
His trip to South Asia is one of three he will be taking over the next year to examine modern slavery (he will also be going to Africa and Latin America). While in South Asia, he will explore a variety of sites of exploitation, including children working in the fishing industry and the forced labor that was used for construction projects related to the upcoming Commonwealth Games in New Dehli.
In describing his approach to understanding human trafficking, which emphasizes both the human costs and the economic reasons behind the phenomenon, Kara writes,
There is much I am proud of as a man of Indian descent, but some have argued that India’s record on protecting the weak, poor, and downtrodden is far from pride-worthy. I hope my approach to the issue of forced labor — predicated on documenting the human pain of this exploitation while also understanding the business and economic forces that drive it — will lead us to a more effective response.
Kara concludes the post by citing the words of Jawaharlal Nehru who hoped for a future of justice and equality and free of exploitation:
This is the future that beckoned all of South Asia more than sixty years ago, on those first days of freedom from tyranny and exploitation. Yet this promise remains deeply elusive for hundreds of millions of poor who scrape by on one dollar per day in income, and even more so for the millions of slaves in this region, who remain oppressed by tyranny and bondage, praying each night to break free of exploitation and achieve the “fullness of life,” that is their human birthright.