Sexploitation of an alarming nature

The Hindu, 27th Sept. 2000
By G. Prabhakaran

PALAKKAD, SEPT. 26. It's not a strange case--at least in this part of the globe.

A 15-year-old girl from Kuravankunnu in Karimpuzha panchayat, 15 km from Mannarkkad town, has been traded by a sex racket, which is rampant in Palakkad these days, for over six months and she gives birth to a child--and now in the agony of being an unwed mother.

Such incidents are not strange to Palakkad as this is only one of the many such crimes being committed in the district on a day-to- day basis.

Two years ago, there was the notorious incident of a sex racket operating in the hub of the town in which many officials and locally influential people were involved. And it was run by a woman and a government officer was its kingpin. Though the law and order machinery had been after it for some time, everything subsided after a while.

Then the scene moved to the Attappady tribal belt where it is reported that there are now as many as 800 unwed mothers, some of them minor school girls. The whole area is reported to be infested with sex rackets. An easy escape to Tamil Nadu makes things easy for the racketeers.

Then followed the infamous incident at the Government tribal school girls hostel where the activity had been on for some time with the connivance of the hostel authorities.

And the latest victim belongs to a poor family from a remote corner of Karimpuzha panchayat, which falls under the Assembly constituency represented by Mrs. Girija Surendran, CPI(M) MLA.

The girl was sent along with a close relation of her mother in the hope that the latter would be able to get some employment for her and the income, though meagre, would help the family meet its both ends. However, it so happened that the woman had clandestine connection with a sex racket and the girl was exchanged to a couple here. They had a gang who kept the fragile girl in their custody for over five months, physically torturing her, and on finding her carrying, they sent her back home.

As the girl narrates the physical pains she had undergone, without making any reference to the violation of her dignity, her father and mother are all tears.

It is understood that some big lobbies are at work to stall the inquiry, as according to police reports, many locally influential people are likely to fall in the net as and when the law takes it own course.

On a visit to the Mannarkkad police station to make enquiries on this case, a dump girl was found sitting there with a child--another unwed mother?

In another incident of rape, a handicapped girl from Alathur who became pregnant, died during delivery in the Thrissur Medical College Hospital the other day.

Women activists feel that most social organisations keep themselves away from these issues.

With the law and machinery in an inertia, an ordinary girl in the street is unsafe here. Bus-stands in the towns have become unsafe for women once the sun sets.

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