Read through archived FRONTLINE/World
conversations around this story below.
Anonymous - Boynton, Florida
Poor need money -- networks have it & are right in reporting
on AIDS but they can do something else: adopt a child through
a reputable organization like World Vision. Everyone wins.
Anonymous - Sicklerville, New Jersey
Prostitution is almost completely associated with the poverty.
People do it because they are desperate to get money somehow,
and this seemed to be the easiest way yet the most riskiest
way for them. Raney Aronson did very well in capturing what
was happening, but probably couldn't realize why exactly
the problem was happening. Poverty is the reason. She does
describe it in one of the questions in the interview. If
there are more people getting more money, they can deviate
from doing such cheap stuff.
I am sorry I don't agree with your response. Yes, I agree
India is witnessing a revolution in both economic and political
front. However, we still have social problems in India.
Ultimately, these looming social do effect our general population
in long term. It is more important to critical view at ourselves
because there is always a place for improvement. May be
you are one of few people who was provided with opportunities
but 70% of people living in rural areas were not provided
with similar opportunities. SO, it means we still have long
way to go and then just focusing on positive aspects. I
don't there is anything wrong in admitting that there is
lot to be done while we are optimistic.
Tabitha Sutter - Minneapolis, Minnesota
It has been over a week since I saw the sex worker story. I am still so horrified by the children who have been sold into sexual slavery. Every time I see a twelve or thirteen year old girl I feel saddened even over a week later.
I too was raised in a very patriarchal environment in which women had few in any rights but I was able to escape it simply because of the luck of the geographic location I was born. It does not matter where a woman is born, woman all over the world should be standing up for each others rights. I would love to hear more about what we might be able to do even if we are thousands of miles away. What power can we give? What more do we have than our voices to impact this problem?
Raney Aronson and her team are brave humanitarians. Thank
you for doing what you can to help bring awareness of the
sex workers plight. It will no doubt move people to action.
Suzanne Barton - Warren County,
I commend Frontline for bringing this issue to the world.
This is not a focus upon negativity, as one post claims,
but it is necessary for the rest of the world to become
aware and become involved. My fiance's distant relatives
are from India, we watched this program together, and it
touched a nerve with both of us in respect to the poverty
and struggle that is occurring in part by extreme imbalance
of wealth in India due to corruption as well as the caste
Aisha K. - Shorewood, Wisconsin
Thank you so much for putting a spotlight on the HIV/AIDS
crisis in India. I have truly been enlightened by this program.
I had never heard the point of view that prostitution should
be legalized and the benefits of such a change. It does
make a lot of sense but the problem is so large that I doubt
that in it of itself would work. More needs to be done to
catch the girls when they are young and save them or at
the very least make sure they know of the dangers and how
to protect themselves. I am from Ghana and so I have always
been very interested in issues concerning developing nations,
women and children and I think that the world needs to see
and understand what is going on in the world. This program
did that and much more. I now know the names of organizations
which help the women and can hopefully send them support
in some form. Also I have found that despite all the trivial
issues that people my age (20) seem to be concentrating
on, when I and others bring up issues like this and others
that we learn on shows like this they are actually very
interested and want to understand the issue and possibly
help. Please know that not only the aged are interested
in your programs, youth are as well.
Reporter/Producer Raney Aronson
Thanks for your response to our
story. I am so glad to hear that you and others your age
are interested in being involved!
About legalizing prostitution
- your response is astute. I agree that it's only one
way to combat sex trafficking, and that much more needs
to be done - both on a local and national level. Without
that kind of concerted effort I also question that legalization
will have make the difference needed to really decrease
the numbers of girls trafficked into India.
One thing I saw when I was in
India is that these groups welcome volunteers, and there
really is an endless need for help. I'm very pleased that
you are interested in getting involved.
Here is contact information for
two groups we focused on in the story. The first is the
Asha project in Mumbai, and the second is the group that
rescues minors from the red light areas called Sanlapp.
ONGC Officers' Flats, Reclamation
Bandra (W). Bombay 400 050.
ASHA project: (91 22) 2655 0471
38 B Mahanirban Road,
Anonymous - Baltimore, Maryland
The reporting was superficial and had the usual arrogant
Western bias. It was aggravating to see the reporter grilling
the young girls on their knowledge of HIV/AIDS and condom
use. Was she expecting to find very high levels of knowledge
of AIDS prevention among poor young children who have been
sold into prostitution and are being kept in captivity and
raped in these brothels? As one of the social workers interviewed
pointed out, to the young girls who are being raped in these
brothels, prevention of HIV/AIDS is not the issue foremost
on their minds. HIV/AIDS does present a growing threat to
India, however, the magnitude of the epidemic is not at
the same scale as other parts of the world. The issue tends
to loom large on the Western conscience because of the obvious
threats the epidemic presents to Western societies. While
it is definitely worthwhile to highlight public health concerns
in other countries, the reporting should provide a balanced
view of the issues that are more pertinent to the local
context. Prevention of HIV is a global priority but we cannot
expect Western solutions (in this case condom use) to be
accepted in contexts where other more acute issues such
as the violation of basic human rights remain.
Anonymous - Los Angeles, California
This was a truly moving and disturbing account of what many
of us in the U.S. have difficulty comprehending - SELLING
our daughters, and if that isn't enough, selling them into
a life of sexual slavery from 10 years of age and older.
And ADULT men continue to contribute to this abuse by paying
them. This isn't just in India, but in many parts of Asia.
Thank goodness for rescue organizations that can grab the
girls when their pimps aren't watching and give them a better
life. The irony here is that their families won't take them
back. We need to help these young victims and encourage
India to stop turning a blind eye to allowing forced prostitution
of minors. Could you post a link to where I could donate
to the rescue organization profiled that is helping these
children in Bombay?
Anonymous - Cypress, California
Your show on the prostitution situation in India was very
frank, revealing, and sad. I was shocked that prostitutes
there are sometimes earning $.50 for sex. That is equivalent
to a candy bar here. What a tragedy. Thank you for opening
the eyes of us in America to the poverty of women in India.
I can see that India is going to be another South Africa
with millions of orphaned children due to AIDS. This show
just confirms my resolve to be thankful for what I have
and to continue to help those who are oppressed. Many thanks.
Anonymous - Portland, Oregon
I think funding for AIDS (or lack of) from the government
has hurt worldwide AIDS. The current administration has
stated that they are against condoms or any form of birth
control. Just say no cannot work. Women do not have control
of their bodies.
Anonymous - Portland, Oregon
I think there is a chance for India. There is always a chance,
if people care....I think mass media education is the key.
Schools, villages, churches, temples, etc. You have to give
a lot of credit to those educators you showed who are trying
to make a difference, especially in the redlight districts.......
I know the country is poor and most don't have media access,
but there has to be a way to teach them about aids and other
diseases and how to prevent them, it seems to me that the
men in this broadcast care only about their personal pleasure
(no condoms) and are illiterate about the spread of diseases.
For goodness sake don't they know that whomever they have
sex with comes home to their wives and loved ones, they
are unprotected and innocent victims...I think that is a
crime......I think the only way is through the women of
India, to protect themselves and their families. Otherwise
there is no future for India as I see it, and its very sad
they are a wonderous people, their culture is very old and
interesting. I for one, cannot see our planet without a
single country we have now, we are all unique in our cultures
and beliefs, but we are all one on this planet. Why can't
people SEE we are killing ourselves and our planet....Thank
you for listening great program by the way .....A concerned
Anonymous - Madisonville, Kentucky
Thanks for exposing light on this problem. We need more
producers like this one. I plan on giving something to Asha
as a result of your story. Keep up the good work.
Anonymous - Wisconsin
This was incredible, I am a teeneger obsessed with other
cultures especially India. I love all you programs and I
love how they are portrayed with so much actual commentary
from the people in the stories I absolutely can not break
myself away it is so interesting. Thank you so much for
providing such incredible television worthy shows.
Anonymous - Palm Harbor, Florida
Why are you people so immersed in bringing the negative
aspects of a country. India, right now is witnessing a revolution
in both economic and political aspects. Why not cover the
recent rise of the Indian software industry and its implications
in the global market. Why not focus on the high rate of
education among the younger population of India, and their
technical expertise. Why not focus on the issue of secularisim
in India - the country which happens to be the birth place
of most of the world's major religions, yet the majority
of the population live in harmony, something which a country
like the United States and other developed countries are
A Web visitor responds
I understand your concern. However, the show emphasizes
only on a specific issue. Indeed, India is one of the
oldest and most fascinating countries than any. There
is a lot of history there in India which traces back to
our roots. As long as the viewers understand the whole
picture, it is fine. Whatever, the issues maybe need to
be heard and addressed. Otherwise, we will continue to
ignore problems in society. We all should be thankful
for what we're given in life and we should do our best
in order to help those who are unfortunate.
Anonymous - West Virginia
I do not believe that this coverage was done in an effort
to negatively portray all of India- the immoral and illegal
sale and use of children and captive women in sex trade
is a significant problem - not only because of its repulsiveness,
but also because if left unchecked it will contribute to
the spread of HIV, eventually hobbling economic growth in
India as the nation struggles with an epidemic that will
prove costly both in terms of human life, and its widespread
impact on the fabric of society. The story brought to light
an issue about women's rights of which many of us may have
been unaware - as with any nation, glossing over what India
gets right won't make what it gets wrong go away. It is
an issue that apparently ethics alone have not resolved-
government intervention and pressure from the public and
global communities will be necessary, and the best way to
drum up support is to make everyone aware.