A Study on Depression, Stress among the Parents of Sex Trafficked Female Victims and Social Work Intervention
Human trafficking, or trafficking in persons, is a form of modern-day slavery and millions of people around the world, including children are victims of this crime. Human trafficking is the exploitation of human beings, especially vulnerable populations, and is recognized as one of the most severe abuses of human rights today. Violations of human rights are both a cause and a consequence of human trafficking.
Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit, or destination, and commonly, as all three. It is both a national and transnational crime that has become more prevalent with the globalization of society. United Nations data indicate that after Italy, the primary destination nation for human trafficking victims is the United States.
There are estimated to be over 9 lakh sex workers in India and among them 30% are believed to be children. Recent report estimate that the number of girl children involved in prostitution is increasing at 8 to 10% per annum. The problem of girl child prostitution in India is more complicated than in other third world countries because of poverty, traditional practices, beliefs and gender discrimination in India. According to a study in Kamatipura, the average age of girls supplied to the brothels in the last two years has decreased from 14 and 16 years to 10 and 14 years. A girl between 10 and 12 years fetches the highest price. Clients mistakenly believe that children have fewer chances of contracting the diseases. Similarly, there is a myth that man can get rid of STDs if he sleeps with virgins (Dr. John E. Rode).
The definition of ‘trafficking in persons’ Article 3 of the UN Trafficking Protocol states: “Trafficking in persons” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.
Review of Literature: The United Nations General Assembly, 1994 (Resolution 49/166) defined trafficking as-” The illicit and clandestine movements of persons across national borders, largely from developing countries with economies in transition, with the end goal of forcing women and girls into sexually or economically oppressive and exploitative situations for profit of recruiters, traffickers and syndicates as well as other illegal activities related to trafficking, such as forced domestic labour, false marriages, clandestine employment and false adoption.
Themes from stories about parents who did not love or care for their children covered themes of abandonment, isolation and sadness. The study contributes an approach that can improve professional practice with children and early outcomes showing importance of seeking children’s’ perspectives in decision making about welfare (Healther D Cruz et al 2010).
Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil, Nadu and Uttar Pradesh are the high supply
Zones for women in prostitution, while Belgaum, Bijapur, and Kolhapur are some common districts from which women migrate to cities, either through an organized trafficking network or due to socioeconomic forces (Central Social Welfare Board, Meena Menon, “Women in India’s Trafficking Belt”, 30 March 1998). Bangalore is one of the five major cities in India which together account for 80% of child prostitutes in the country (Seethalakshmi S., “Karnataka girls being sold to Goa brothels,” Time Of India, 28 May 1998).
Quoting some of the valuable sources, UNIFEM’s resource book on Trade in Human Misery, Trafficking in Women and Children, Asia Region points out “At least 25,000 children are engaged in prostitution in the major metropolitan cities: Bangalore, Calcutta, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Chennai (Government of India, 1991). Other sources quote that 500,000 girl children below 18 years are victims of trafficking in India (India Today Magazine1990). The Dallas, with an eye on the booming market among tourists, travelling businessmen and truck drivers who believe that sex with a young child may keep them safe from diseases, are forcing the community to send out their girl children, most of whom are between the age 10-14. “10 year old tribals forced into sex trade in Rajasthan”. (The Asian Age, 20 June, 1997. as reported in Jonaki, Vol.1, No.2. September, 1997).
Human trafficking impact on Parents:
Many of these children grow up with a social stigma and are often shunned and isolated from the community. Seen as shameful and a burden, it is not uncommon for children of sexual violence, especially during a period of national conflict or war, to be abandoned by their mothers. Children born of sexual violence during the Rwandan genocide are described as “children of bad memories” or “devil’s children” (Warner, 2012). While there are many mothers struggling not to “project [hate and anger] onto their children” (Warner, 2012), several are still coming to terms with accepting that the children are their own. Testimonies from Rwandan women who were sexually assaulted and gave birth to a child tell of relief when the child does not resemble the father and mother, emotional conflict if the child does, and a “divided love” that favours the legitimate children over the children born of violence (Foundation Rwanda, 2012).
The families, consequently, face a great degree of burden and distress. Daily life of a family can be disturbed in many aspects by the unexpected incidence. Traditionally, the family has been serving as a major support system for the mentally ill. Moreover, prior to the contact with the professional help, the family decides the need and nature of psychiatric treatment required for the affected member. Very often, due to the misconceptions and apprehensions about trafficking may accrue to the victim; the family is reluctant to make use of the services available.
Depression Stress and Parents:
The parents of the trafficked victim children face crisis situation. The incidences develop feeling of guilt and distress among the parents. Healthier D Cruz &Karen Stagnitti 2010).The emotional toll may take the clinical form of anxiety, stress or depression. The filtering of social image, shattered dreams, shock by the incident, confusion in accepting back the child, difference in the opinions among themselves, Etc may result in anxiety, feeling of helplessness, overwhelmed emotions among the parents. The following are the clinical picture of those parents of trafficking victim children;
Trafficking of one’s own child cause a lot of stress to the affected individuals as well as their families. The nature and intensity of the problems depend on various factors like, the type of trafficking, age of the child, course, and availability, utilization of services, family and community support, levels of personal and social functioning of, victim, deviance, and tolerance and so on.
This study aimed at qualitatively analyzing the depression, stress of parents of children who were trafficked and thus deprived of their rights. The study was on 30 parents and their families who were produced before child welfare committee, Through ODANADI NGO, Mysore, Karnataka. The primary data was collected through case study interview. Secondary data was by review of journals and books. An explorative collective case study research design was utilized through detailed and in-depth data-collection methods. To reach the goal of the study, the researcher used semi-structured, one-on-one interviews based on the interview schedule. The objective of the study is to study the relationship between trafficked female victims Parents and their depression, stress level.
Findings of Research:
It is evident through the literature study that victimized parents are going through painful experiences, often characterized by economic hardships, torture, anxiety leads to mainly psycho-social problems, as well as lack of love. Furthermore, trafficked girl children are denied the right to education as they withdraw from school.
From the above it is clear, when the respondents, [30 parents from ODANADI organizations] narrated their views and experiences regarding their anxiousness.
CASE VIGNETT 1
A girl aged 12 years rescued from a house of businessman. She was sold for a businessman which is far from their village, by her step father and her mother on a false assurance by the step father that the businessman’s family would put the child to school and would take care of her till her marriage. But the girl was used for domestic labour and was physically harassed. The child was severely beaten up, when rupees 5000 at the businessman’s family was not found. The family members doubted the girl and beaten her up. The child helpline was informed by the people in the neighbourhood and the rescued the child and admitted the child to the flit institution. During the process intervention, the social worker interviewed her mother. Mother, who was completely unaware of the whole process of trafficking, was shocked by the dreads of her husband and the businessman. In the concurrent sessions, during the fallow up they looked anxious and apprehensive. She reported increased worry about her daughter’s future. She reported disturbed sleep, decreased appetite since the receipt of news about her whole plot. She also reported problems of increased palpitation, nervousness, increased sweating, increased headache, feeling of tension etc. She said the symptoms block her from talking assertively to her husband and his friends.
CASE VIGNETT 2
A girl of 9th standard was eloped by barber and stole jewels and money after abusing her. She belongs to an upper middle economic background at a village in Mandya taluk. She was left in a relative’s house in the town. She came in to contact with an unmarried man of opposite house, who was basically barber. He, who helped her to put currency to her mobile phone, continued talking to her. The friendship continued and one day he proposed her and asked her to come with him for getting married. She was also stolen jewels and money, which he said would be return once they get settled in life. But after a week girl was sent home with bare hand physical mental scars of abuse. The parents who underwent severe stress since her run away, found difficult to accept. They were not only stressed by the impact on their daughter, but also because of the filtered social image and stigma.
The father reported of related panic attacks with increased sweating, breathlessness, increased palpitation, feeling giddiness, nausea and increased apprehension of getting heart attack.
Social Work Intervention:
In both the cases, the parents were observed to be suffering from depression symptoms. The social worker need to support them emotionally by counselling. They should be allowed to ventilate their pent up emotions and stresses. They should be helped through brief cognitive therapies involving them in group work would help them to get rid of feeling of isolation. Group session would help them to learn coping strategies and skills of problem solving.
Limitations of the Study: The sample taken was too small. The quantitative study with sufficient numbers of sample might help in drawing out more accurate understanding.
The aim of the present study was to identify the anxiety problems of parents of a child with trafficked victims. In addition, the strategies these parents apply to cope with these problems as well as their need for information are described in social work intervention to reduce their depression and stress. Thirty parent groups were found to have a high need for information, high feelings of loss of control, stress relatively high depressive feelings, particularly in mother, whereas parents of trafficked female children were more concerned about the consequences for the child. Training on the above aspects will enable social workers to render a more effective service to trafficked victim parents. Parents are the real problem solver of their children here. Parents have very strong mind to cope with problem as well social workers should provide above mentioned interventions to reduce their depression and stress level.
Ms. Sujatha M
Research Scholar, Dept. of Social Work, JSS Research Centre, Mysore University, Mysore, Karnataka
Dr. Kumudini Achchi
Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work, JSS College of Arts, Commerce and Science, Mysore, Karnataka
Research Scholar Dept. of Social Work, Tumkur University, Tumakuru