Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sunitha Krishnan fights sex slavery

By Shelby F.

"I'm talking to you about the worst form of human rights violation, the third-largest organized crime, a 10 billion dollar industry." Sunitha Krishnan stands today as a survivor of modern-day sex slavery. At the age of fifteen, Sunitha was gang-raped by eight men. Today there are hundreds and thousands of girls who are victims of sex slavery. These girls are left emotionally and physically scarred, feeling worthless and without hope. Sunitha has dedicated her life to rescuing those children who are suffering because of the sex industry, and devotes her time to spreading awareness about the issue.

Sunitha opens her talk by sharing three alarming life stories of children who have been victimized by sex slavery. Pranitha, Shaheen, and Anjali all had been either raped, prostituted, trafficked, or forced into pornography. These children are as young as three or four years old and have been forced to do things that are not only far beyond their age, but are being, as Sunitha states, exploited by men who "we live among, and are silent about". From there Sunitha goes to a personal level, sharing with us her own experience of being raped as a child. This experience was the prime motive for her quest to make a change in the world and put a stop to sex slavery. She speaks of the trauma she endured and her process of healing that allows her to relate with every other victim she encounters. Sunitha explains further how society often fails to properly rehabilitate victims: "Two years I was ostracized, I was stigmatized, I was isolated, because I was a victim. And that's what we do to all traffic survivors. We, as a society, we have PhDs in victimizing a victim". Knowing that Sunitha pertains to the issue at hand encourages the audience to be more absorbed into her talk, and pay close attention to what she has to say. Strong points are made about where the victims of sex slavery end up, for example most turn up dead, brutally beaten or forever trapped in the industry. The majority also become infected with sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS or are exposed to substance abuse. Sunitha brings us to the harsh reality that: "the men who come to them (the sex slaves) are not men who want to make you your girlfriends, or who want to have a family with you. These are men who buy you for an hour, for a day, and use you, throw you", further more expressing the seriousness of the talk and issue at hand. She then explains the feelings of hopelessness that most victims undergo, and introduces cases where Sunitha and her crew have been able to rescue and successfully build up victims into a safe and stable environment. She then closes her speech with stating her intentions of what she wanted the audience to take with them after listening to her speak. Sunitha urges them to pass on her plea for salvation for the existing prisoners of the sex industry, in hopes of spreading awareness and putting a stop to the crime. In my opinion, she executed this perfectly, leaving the audience inspired to make a difference.

As I stated above, I believe Sunitha was successful in getting her ideas and message across. After listening, I was motivated to help the cause in some little way. One big tactic that really helped get the audience interested was displaying the graphic images of victims that were involved in the sex industry. The disturbing photos brought the importance of the issue to our attention and allowed the viewers to get a closer look at what Sunitha was talking about. The constant hand gestures, eye contact, and pacing kept the listeners eyes trained on Sunitha, restoring their focus to the speaker. Every once and a while Sunitha would pause. This kept the audience on their toes, and added great effect to her talk. At the end of her speech Sunitha raised her voice, which personally grabbed my attention and made me wonder what could have forced her to become so stern.

Overall I feel that after watching Sunitha's presentation, I am more informed and inclined to help fight sex slavery. The persuasiveness of her talk was extremely effective and well done. Although some may think that the slide show was too graphic and the information given was better left unsaid, I feel she was right to show us the explicit details, otherwise no one would care or feel motivated to do something about it.

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