UNSUNG HEROES

Encore: April 27, 2022

Anti-trafficking activist, Sunitha Krishnan, risks her life to save thousands of women and children from the sex trade. She joins us to share her story.

Aired on May 29, 2018.

TRANSCRIPT

> ACROSS THE GLOBE HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS THIRD LORJTS ORGANIZED CRIME AFTER DRUGS AND THE ARMS TRADE.

AND ACCORDING TO THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, NEARLY 15,000 PEOPLE ARE TRAFFICKED INTO THIS COUNTRY EVERY YEAR.

STILL MOST EXPERTS AGREE THAT INDIA IS THE EPICENTER OF THIS INSIDIOUS CRIMES AND ACTIVE ITS REPORT THAT 80% OF ALL HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN THAT COUNTRY IS DONE FOR SEXUAL EXPLOITATION.

OUR NEXT GUESS, SUNGT AF KRISHNAN SURVIVED A SEX ATTACK AT 15 AND MOVED HER TO BECOME A LEADER IN THE WAR AGAINST SEX ABUSE AND THE SEX TRADE-IN INDIA.

THROUGH HER ORGANIZATION SHE AND HER COLLEAGUES RESCUED THOUSANDS FROM PROSTITUTION AND EDUCATED THEIR CHILDREN TO HELP END THE CYCLE OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION.

SHE JOINS US NOW.

WELCOME.

IT'S A PLEASURE TO HAVE YOU HERE.

THANK YOU.

LET ME START WITH THAT ATTACK.

AND I MENTIONED.

YOU TALK ABOUT IT ALL THE TIME.

SOMETIMES IT GETS A LITTLE TOO MUCH.

BUT LET'S START WITH THAT BECAUSE AFTER THAT ATTACK I'VE READ THAT YOU SAID TO YOURSELF I AM NOT GOING TO BE DEFINED JUST AS A VICTIM.

I AM GOING TO IDENTIFY MYSELF AS A SURVIVOR AND I'M GOING TO FIGHT BACK.

WHAT COMPELLED YOU TO DO THAT?

I THINK THE SHEER UNFAIRNESS THE WORLD AROUND ME.

IT BLAMED ME FOR A CRIME THAT I NEVER DID.

PEOPLE ARE BLAMING ME FOR EIGHT MEN ATTACKING ME.

AND I WAS THE CENTER OF SHAME, CENTER OF GUILT, CENTER OF OSTRACIZING AND EXCLUSION.

THE UNFAIRNESS OF THAT.

THAT PUSHED ME TO BELIEVE THAT THIS IS NOT DONE, AND I'M NOT GOING TO BE DEFINED BY THESE PEOPLE WHO I AM.

SO LET ME JUST TALK ABOUT THIS.

THE STIGMA OF BEING A VICTIM OF SEXUAL ABUSE, IS IT STILL PROMINENT IN INDIA AND AROUND THE WORLD.

I THINK THAT'S -- THAT'S ONE OF THE ANGER I GRAPPLE WITH EVERY DAY IN MY LIFE.

IT'S ANGER THAT'S DRAWN ME TO THIS MISSION.

AND 26 YEARS LATER I AM FILLED WITH NOT JUST ANGER.

IT'S LIKE AN OUTRAGE BECAUSE THAT STIGMA HASN'T CHANGED.

WOMEN, CHILDREN, CONTINUE TO BE VICTIMIZED FOR A CRIME THAT THEY HAVE NOT COMMITTED.

THEY CONTINUE TO BE SHAMED AND CONSTANTLY BLAMED FOR THE ATTACKS.

IT'S SOMETIMES THE CLOTHES THEY WEAR, OR SOMETIMES THE BEHAVIOR THAT THEY PROJECT.

BUT THE ENOF IT IS THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM.

SO NOTHING HAS CHANGE IN THE LAST TWO AND A HALF DECADES AND MORE.

AND THAT ANGERS ME.

AND THAT DRIVES ME TO DO WHAT I AM DOING TODAY.

LISTEN, YOU KNOW, WE HEAR ABOUT THE STATISTICS, THE GLOBAL STATISTICS ON SEXUAL TRAFFICKING.

AND THOSE ARE IMPORTANT TO KNOW.

BUT TALK ABOUT THE CONCRETE EXPERIENCE OF THE WOMEN THAT YOU HELP IN INDIA, THE WOMEN WHO HAVE BEEN FORCED INTO SEX TRAFFICKING AND THEIR CHILDREN.

WHAT IS THEIR DAY TO DAY LIFE LIKE?

YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT THEY COME FROM, WHAT IS THEIR DAY TO DAY LIFE WHEN THEY ARE IN SEX SLAVERY.

AND EVERY CHILD, AGE 8 OF 10 YEARS IN A BROTHEL NEEDS TO BE CATERING TO NOT LESS THAN 40 TO 50 MEN A DAY.

WHICH MEANS THE AVERAGE DAY STARTS SOMETHING LIKE 2 IN THE AFTERNOON AND END FIVE IN THE MORNING NEXT DAY.

AND YOU KNOW, IF SHE DOESN'T MEEPT UP WITH THE TARGETS OF 40 MEET MEN OR 50 MEN SHE WOULD BE TORTURED.

SHE WOULD BE PHYSICALLY ASSAULTED FOR NOT REACHING THE DALEY TARGETS.

IT'S LIKE A MARKET, YOU KNOW.

AND EVERYBODY HAS TO REACH THE DALEY TARGET.

AND IT'S A HUGE AMOUNT OF COMPETITION THERE.

BECAUSE IF YOU DON'T REACH THE TARGET THEN YOU ARE NOT MAKING BUSINESS SENSE.

AN AVERAGE DAY WOULD BE GETTING RAPED 40 TIMES A DAY.

OH, MY.

AND AN AVERAGE DAY WOULD ALSO BE WITH GRAPPLING WITH A WHOLE WORLD OF INFECTIONS IN YOUR BODY PCH KEEPING YOURSELF INSANE AND INTOXICATED WITH DRUGS AND ALCOHOL AND ALL KINDS OF INTOXICANTING SUBSTANCES.

SO END OF THE DAY, THE KIND OF HUMAN BEING YOU BECOME, IS A PERSON WHO HAS NO TRUST IN THE WORLD.

LISTEN, YOU KNOW, MOST PEOPLE HEARING THIS STORY OF WHAT YOU DO, THINK IT'S BEAUTIFUL AND HEROIC BUT NOT ALL FOLKS DO.

YOU HAVE BEEN ATTACKED.

YOU HAVE BEEN A VICTIM OF ACID ATTACKS.

AND COUNTLESS DEATH THREATS.

FIRST OF ALL, ARE THOSE JUST A TRAFFICKERS AFTER YOU?

OR DO YOUR ENEMIES ENCOMPASS A LARGER GROUP OF PEOPLE AND HOW DO YOU DEVELOP THE COURAGE IT DEAL WITH THIS.

I THINK EVERY TRAFFICKER LOATHES SEEING THE DAMAGE I GIVE THEM EVERY CHILD I TAKE OUT OF THE CLUTCHES IS A HUGE BUSINESS LOSS FOR THEM.

THEY ARE NOT PEOPLE GOING TO HUG ME AND SAY THANK YOU.

THEY ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO DO EVERYTHING TO WIPE ME OUT.

THAT'S ONE CONSTANCY WHICH DOESN'T LIKE ME.

BUT MY BIGGER CHALLENGE IS THE WORLD, YOU KNOW, THE SOCIAL PERCEPTION, THE COMMUNITY PERCEPTION ABOUT THESE VICTIMS IS MY BIGGER ENEMY.

BECAUSE I DON'T MIND STAKING MY LIFE ON THESE CHILDREN.

I DON'T MIND DYING FOR THESE CHILDREN, PROVIDED, YOU KNOW, I'M SURE THAT YOU KNOW THESE PEOPLE WILL BE ACCEPTED BACK BY THE WORLD AS EQUAL CITIZENS.

SUNGT AIFR THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

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