FIGHT­ING FOR THEIR DREAMS

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - CONTENTS -

Kerre McIvor trav­elled to In­dia and Myan­mar with vis­ual jour­nal­ist Mike Scott to dis­cover how young girls’ lives are still blighted by forced labour, un­der-age mar­riage, child pros­ti­tu­tion and sex traf­fick­ing

NZME ra­dio host and colum­nist Kerre McIvor trav­elled to In­dia and Myan­mar with vis­ual jour­nal­ist Mike Scott to dis­cover how young girls’ lives are still blighted by forced labour, un­der-age mar­riage, child pros­ti­tu­tion and sex traf­fick­ing. Here is a glimpse of what they found ahead of the Her­ald-World Vi­sion cam­paign Not For Sale which starts next week.

‘I hadn’t taken into ac­count what it would be like to meet the young women of In­dia and Myan­mar who are di­rectly af­fected as a re­sult of poverty. I wasn’t ex­pect­ing it to be that tough. I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to see the harsh re­al­ity of real poverty and what that can do to a fam­ily.’

‘These girls have to come out of school and work or their fam­i­lies do not sur­vive. There is no roof over their head, there is no food in the bowls.’ ‘I met some ex­tra­or­di­nary young women who, be­cause of the cir­cum­stances of their birth, be­cause of their fam­i­lies’ po­si­tions, they were ei­ther work­ing as child labour­ers or were mar­ried off be­fore they were ready.’

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Kerre McIvor stands above the Kolkata red light dis­trict, Asia’s largest brothel. In the al­leys and streets are girls whose moth­ers work the streets and who them­selves are at high risk of fol­low­ing them into the sex in­dus­try at an early age.

Above: A young boy hangs on to his mum's sari at a pub­lic meet­ing.

Right: Kerre McIvor talks with Devi Singh 38, and Ji­ten­dar Singh, 35, of a men’s group in Agra fight­ing against tra­di­tions that dis­crim­i­nate against girls and women.

Left: Latika works as a pros­ti­tute in Kolkata’s red light dis­trict. She lives in the area with her teenage daugh­ter but the pair want to move away and set up an al­ter­na­tive busi­ness. They hope to get some eco­nomic as­sis­tance.

Below: A pros­ti­tute work­ing in Kolkata’s red light dis­trict.

Below: Change is in the air in some parts of In­dia. This ado­les­cent girls group in a vil­lage near Muzaf­fa­pur, Bi­har, is ral­ly­ing against is­sues such as child mar­riages and they are fight­ing to re­alise their dreams of be­com­ing doc­tors, en­gi­neers and teach­ers.

Right: Thanks to World Vi­sion, 14-year-old Ki­ran now goes to school full-time in Agra. Her mother, Mumta, couldn’t be hap­pier with her daugh­ter’s aim of be­com­ing a doc­tor.

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