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Meet Ajeet Singh: The unsung hero who saved over 1000 girls from trafficking

In 1988, while attending a wedding in Varanasi, Ajeet decided to help a nautch girl by adopting her children and giving them an opportunity to lead a better life, while he was in his teens.

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Street children in India. Image source: Wikipedia

Ajeet singh was in his teens when he decided to do something that people will think twice before doing. In 1988, while attending a wedding in Varanasi, his hometown; he decided to help a nautch girl by adopting her children and giving them an opportunity to lead a better life.

According to the Better India report, Ajeet said, “The way people were looking at her and treating her was something that shocked and deeply saddened me. It was then and there that I decided to do something to free girls like her from such a profession.”

This path caused him to face lot of criticism and comments from society and family. “Of course my decision was not welcomed by my family or society. I faced huge opposition from everyone. But this is what I wanted to do,” he said.

This was just the first step in this path, he then went on to teach the poor children in the red light areas’s of the Varanasi in his spare.That is when he realised that is situation is much worse than what he has expected.

“The whole profession and system are so complex that providing mere education to the kids or spreading awareness about health, HIV, etc., cannot solve it. The issue is slavery and the need to abolish the system of sex trafficking. It is only then that girls can be saved to lead better lives,” he said.

Ajeet Singh: Image source: Better India
Ajeet Singh: Image source: Better India
Ajeet started a movement to rescue small girls from prostitution and flesh trade. He used hidden cameras to record and find out the locations where girls were held. Then he gathered volunteers and raided the area. Till date, Ajeet has rescued over 1000 girls.

“Today, I can say Varanasi is almost free from child prostitution,” claims Ajeet.

Ajeet was not satisfied  with current progress and wanted to take big step towards reducing the sex tracking. “Even the police did not do anything and we thought it was time to bring this issue out in the open,” he added.

Singh started a NGO called Guria and the main objective of the organization was busting pimps and brothel keepers. Over 1400 have been filed by the NGO and Ajeet. Guria also ensures that the bail is not given in such cases. The rescued girls are rehabilitated and educated so that they can work in any field of their choice.

“Our idea is not just to provide one-time support. These girls are like our children. You cannot just provide clothing or just food to your children. You have to give them overall support. This is what we do for these girls,” he said.

Because of his work, Ajeet was regularly get threatened and attacked but he still continued to work for the freedom of these girls.

“Often, these traffickers who get bail come out quickly and start doing what they did earlier. We make sure they stay in jail for a long time. Some of them have been in jail for about four to five years now,” says Ajeet.

Bhaskar is a graduate in Journalism and mass communication from Amity school of communication, Noida Twitter: bhaskar_ragha

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Avoid Smoking During Pregnancy To Prevent Premature Births

The negative health impacts of cigarette smoking during pregnancy, including low birth weight, delayed intrauterine development, pre-term birth, infant mortality, and long-term developmental delays, are well known. 

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The researcher plans to look at quit rates and smoking intensity and their impact on the risk of infant mortality. Pixabay

Expecting mothers, take note. As smoking during pregnancy is linked with negative health outcomes, a team of researchers has found that smoking cessation during pregnancy may reduce the risk of pre-term birth.

The findings, published in the JAMA Network Open journal, showed that the probability of pre-term birth decreased with earlier smoking cessation in pregnancy — up to a 20 per cent relative decrease if cessation occurred at the beginning of pregnancy.

baby
If we determine quitting, and quitting early, reduces the risk of infant mortality, then that may speak to mothers even more saliently about the importance of smoking cessation. Pixabay

“Of concern, though, given the substantial benefits of smoking cessation during pregnancy is that the proportion of pre-pregnancy smokers who quit smoking during pregnancy has remained essentially stagnant since 2011,” said lead author Samir Soneji from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in the US.

For the study, the researchers conducted a cross-sectional study of more than 25 million pregnant women who gave birth to live neonates during a six-year period — measuring their smoking frequency three months prior to pregnancy and for each trimester during pregnancy.

The negative health impacts of cigarette smoking during pregnancy, including low birth weight, delayed intrauterine development, pre-term birth, infant mortality, and long-term developmental delays, are well known.

But the good news is that the proportion of women who start their pregnancy as smokers has been declining in recent years, the researchers said.

smoking

The findings, published in the JAMA Network Open journal, showed that the probability of pre-term birth decreased with earlier smoking cessation in pregnancy — up to a 20 per cent relative decrease if cessation occurred at the beginning of pregnancy. Pixabay

However, the study also found that only about 25 per cent of women who smoked prior to pregnancy were able to quit throughout their pregnancy, and approximately 50 per cent of women who smoked during their pregnancy did so with high frequency (more than 10 cigarettes per day).

The researcher plans to look at quit rates and smoking intensity and their impact on the risk of infant mortality.

Also Read: How Netflix Binge-Watching Can Lead You The “Mean World Syndrome”

“Thankfully most premature babies end up doing well,” he said.

“But premature birth is strongly linked to infant mortality. If we determine quitting, and quitting early, reduces the risk of infant mortality, then that may speak to mothers even more saliently about the importance of smoking cessation,” he added. (IANS)