Freedom, Hope and Justice for India's Dalits. DFN UK campaigns and takes direct action to prevent the trafficking of Dalits - Untouchables - in India. Dalits make up to half of the 27 million people trafficked into modern slavery around the world today.
31 December 2016
Providing India's Devadasi with HIV/AIDS testing, diagnosis, treatment and counselling. Breaking the chains or ritual sex slavery.
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Karnataka AIDS Centre
Combating ritual sex slavery in India
Our HIV/AIDS Centre in the southern Indian state of Karnataka is a key part of our strategy to address the issue of ritualised prostitution [LINK]. There may well be as many as 100,000 Devadasi in Karnataka. Devadasi is one of the names given to the practice of ritual sex slavery, where Dalit girls (Untouchables) are dedicated to a goddess when they are still very young. They are condemned to a lifetime of exploitation, prostitution and poverty despite the practice having been outlawed some thirty years ago. When they reach puberty, they are in effect sold for sex becoming a concubine of a priest, landowner or rich man in the village, and subsequently the property of the village.
The aim of this and related projects is to reduce the incidence and transmission of HIV and STIs (sexually transmitted infections) among the Devadasi population. The HIV Centre provides medical treatment including diagnosis, testing and treatment. Emphasis is placed on a holistic approach through counselling and a range of practical approaches to enable women and girls to leave the Devadasi system. These include: providing microloans and skills-training to enable women to earn a livelihood; community-based care and support; nutritional supplementation programmes; awareness-raising activities.
Building trust, restoring dignity
The stigma of HIV/AIDS means that there is a reluctance among women to come forward for testing; likewise poverty and concerns over the cost of treatment. Hence there is an emphasis on building trust and developing a good relationship with Devadasis. Restoring dignity and respect is a key part of this. Networking bases have been established in 6 villages enabling contact with over 100 women in the target group. In 2009, 70 women were tested for HIV/AIDS, and that number has increased year on year.
Make a difference, transform lives
Your donations will enable us to continue and develop this vital work. Running costs amount to £17,500 a year to cover operational costs such as salaries, property rental, maintenance and utilities. We are waiting for the purchase of land to go through so that we can begin the construction, equipping and furnishing of a permanent clinic and laboratory. You can help us make a real difference in the lives of these women (see Ruchika's and Malvika's stories).
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Anonymous £25.00 (+ £6.25 giftaid)