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West Bengal Police Rescue Women from sex traffickers, Raising Funds to help them Make a New Life

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A 16-year-old girl stands inside a protection home on the outskirts of New Delhi, Nov. 9, 2012. She was rescued by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement), a charity which rescues victims of bonded labor. In the state of West Bengal, police officers are helping rescued women to make a new life. VOA

Police in the Indian state of West Bengal are going beyond the call of duty by raising funds for the women they rescue from sex traffickers to help them get back on track.

“The girls are hardly literate, have no access to bank loans, and government schemes are not enough to sustain them in the long run,” said police officer Chandra Sekhar Bardhan, who is spearheading the program in eastern India. “We had to do something, even though it did not fall in the realm of our duties.”

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The scheme, the first of its kind, began this month, with 22 rescued women singled out for rehabilitation. Police then hope to reach out to 100 more women and create a model to replicate across the region.

Police tailor the aid to the individual women, asking firms to fund their needs as an act of corporate social responsibility. One of the women in the first group wants to set up a sewing business, another to drive her own taxi — anything rather than return to a life of poverty and unemployment.

Green pasture for traffickers

Of an estimated 20 million commercial sex workers in India, campaigners estimate that 16 million women and girls are the victims of sex trafficking. They are mostly trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labor and child marriage.

The South 24 Parganas district where the project began has seen a steady rise in crime against women, with police recording a jump of more than 80 percent in the number of abductions between 2010 and 2013.

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“Due to poverty and backwardness, the area has always been a green pasture for traffickers,” said Subhasree Raptan, coordinator of nonprofit Gorabbose Gram Bikas Kendra, which helps trafficked victims and is supporting the pilot project.

Raptan said the problem grew far worse after cyclone Aila in 2009, displacing more than a million people in the region.

No job, no chance

When victims are rescued from traffickers, they usually return to poverty, a dysfunctional family life and no job.

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Work is key to a new life, and the first group of women include aspiring seamstresses, two women who want to run a stationary shop and another who wants to drive her own taxi.

“I did not know anything about the extent of human trafficking until I was posted to this region and came across the case of a 14-year-old victim, who had been trafficked, abused and dumped in a hospital,” said Bardhan, the policeman leading the project. “Now the program will run as long as the problem persists.” (VOA)

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Sweetened Beverages May Increase Risk of Early Death: Study

Sugar-sweetened beverages intake is also on the rise in developing countries, spurred by urbanisation and beverage marketing

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soda
The "soft drinks" were defined as caffeinated colas, caffeine-free colas and other carbonated beverages (such as diet ginger ale). Pixabay

Women who drink sugar sweetened beverages are at an increased risk of death from cardiovascular diseases, researchers have warned.

The study, led by Harvard University researchers, found that drinking 1-4 sugary drinks per month was linked with a one per cent increased risk of death and 2-6 drinks per week with a six per cent increase.

The increased early death risk linked with sugar-sweetened beverages consumption was more pronounced among women than among men, the findings, published in the journal Circulation, showed.

“Our results provide further support to limit intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and to replace them with other beverages, preferably water, to improve overall health and longevity,” said lead author Vasanti Malik.

However, drinking one artificially-sweetened beverage per day instead of carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks lowered the risk of premature death.

One should go for healthier alternatives of cold drinks. Wikimedia Commons
One should go for healthier alternatives of cold drinks. Wikimedia Commons

For the study, the team analysed data from 80,647 women and 37,716 men.

The study supports policies to limit marketing of sugary beverages to children and adolescents and for implementing soda taxes.

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Sugar-sweetened beverages should be no more than 10 per cent of daily calories from added sugars.

Sugar-sweetened beverages intake is also on the rise in developing countries, spurred by urbanisation and beverage marketing, said the team. (IANS)

One response to “Sweetened Beverages May Increase Risk of Early Death: Study”

  1. Soft drinks, like all the beverages made by our industry, are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet. The sugar used in our beverages is the same as sugar used in other food products. We don’t think anyone should overconsume sugar, that’s why we’re working to reduce the sugar people consume from beverages across the country. Additionally, low- and no-calorie sweeteners have been repeatedly confirmed as safe by regulatory bodies around the world.