Tuesday June 19, 2018
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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
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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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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    There should be many Ajeet Singhs in India so that we can abolish sex trafficking which is a huge problem in the society

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Why Does Trump Separate Families, A Policy Or A Law?

A video released Monday by Customs and Border Protection

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In this photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, rest in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas, June 17, 2018.
In this photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, rest in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas, June 17, 2018. VOA

The Trump administration at least since April has been separating children and parents who enter the United States illegally at the border — that much is supported by the numbers. But much of everything else surrounding the practice has become mired in confusion.

Here is what we know:

In recent weeks, news stories of children in detention centers have circulated more widely, and the numbers of detained children have grown.

Department of Homeland Security officials told reporters Friday that between April 19 and May 31 of this year, nearly 2,000 (1,995) children were separated from their parents or other adults with whom they were traveling.

A video released Monday by Customs and Border Protection shows what appears to be humane conditions at a shelter site for children, but many worry that this video, the only video that has been released from within one of the detention centers, may not accurately depict them.

A policy or a law?

As criticism over the separation of parents and children at the border grows, the Trump administration has struggled to explain the policy.

Trump, himself, said the practice is the result of a law passed by Democrats, which has forced his administration into separating parents and children.

But there is no such law.

Rather in May, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero-tolerance” policy, which means that those detained entering the United States illegally would be criminally charged. This approach generally leads to children being separated from their parents because the law requires it.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks about religious liberty at the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center's annual leadership mission in Washington, June 13, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks about religious liberty at the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center’s annual leadership mission in Washington, June 13, 2018, VOA

On Sunday, senior policy adviser to the Trump administration Stephen Miller told The New York Times that the crackdown “was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero-tolerance policy for illegal entry. Period.”

Administration officials, including Miller and Sessions, have defended the separation of families, saying that having children does not exempt anyone from the consequences of breaking the law.

“If you cross the border unlawfully, even a first offense, we’re going to prosecute you. … If you don’t want your child to be separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally,” Sessions told a gathering of the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies.

The administration has said the new practice is directed at combating a “surge” of unlawful border crossings. But the “surge” appears to be numbers marking a return-to-normal after a dip last year.

Not a new idea

Though the practice of treating all people who cross the border unlawfully as subject to criminal prosecution is new under the Trump administration, it is built on existing policies from the Bush and Obama administrations.

Amid a surge of unlawful migration from Central America to the United States in 2014, the Obama administration considered many plans to deter illegal border crossings, including separating parents and children. Ultimately, Obama decided against separations but did expand the detention of immigrant families. New facilities were opened along the border, which held women and children for long periods of time before their cases were processed.

Following widespread criticism after photos of detained women and children, accompanied by testimonies of people being held for extended periods, a federal judge in Washington effectively ruled that asylum-seeking mothers could not be held for longer than 20 days, leading to what has been called a “catch and release” system where adults were released with GPS ankle monitors tracking their movements until their cases could be heard in court.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen speaks at the National Sheriffs' Association convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 18, 2018.
=U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen speaks at the National Sheriffs’ Association convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 18, 2018. VOAU.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen speaks at the National Sheriffs’ Association convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 18, 2018.VOA

But this “catch and release” system has been heavily criticized by Trump and his administration.

Also read: Trump Launched A New Attack On Mueller Probe In Russia

“This get out of jail free card for families and groups who pose as families has spread,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. “The word of this has spread. The smugglers and traffickers know these loopholes better than our members of Congress. I’m sad to say that from October 2017 to this February, we have seen a staggering 315 percent increase in illegal aliens fraudulently using children to pose as family units to gain entry into this country. This must stop,” she said. (VOA)