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Civilizations II, Sold Presentation

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Jessica Schlender

on 3 May 2013

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Transcript of Civilizations II, Sold Presentation

With the arrival of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, many have become HIV positive and are abandoned when discovered to have the disease. Nepal The Border INDIA Happiness House Brothel Math Punishments The Rules The Journey to India Lakshmi lives in a poor village near the Himalayan mountains of Nepal.

Lakshmi lives in a red mud hut with her mother, her step-father and her baby brother.

Although, Lakshmi's Mother tries to do her best to give Lakshmi everything she needs; Lakshmi's step-father is a jobless gambler who spends the little money the family has. Lakshmi's best friend, Gita, moved to the city to work as a maid. Since then, Gita's family has been more economically stable. They even bought a tin roof for their hut.

Lakshmi's step-father is unable to work due to an injury, therefore,
Lakshmi and her mother must work in what little they can to find the
means to survive.

Lakshmi is determined to work hard and buy her family a tin roof.

However, Lakshmi's step-father gambles away the little money she earns. Lakshmi is 12 years old, going on 13. She is responsible, caring, and hard working.

Although, Lakshmi's mother believes that it is better to have a useless man than no man at all; Lakshmi's step-father eventually gambles away all of the family earnings.

Lakshmi's mother even has to trade her special gold earrings to save her children from starvation. The earrings were supposed to be for Lakshmi. Without my knowledge, Lakshmi's step-father sells her to a man for 800 rupees (14.57 USD.)

Lakshmi leaves our small town in Nepal convinced that she is going to the city to work as a maid.

She leaves hoping to send us money to buy a tin roof. . All Lakshmi has with her is her bowl, hairbrush, notebook, and bedroll. In her mind she has Ama, her baby brother, and her baby goat. Her bundle is light, but her burden is heavy. They walk for two days, through village after village. In the ninth village, they board a strange metal cart; it roars louder than a motorcycle and takes off down the dirt road.
This was the first time Lakshmi had seen a truck. They soon arrive at a crowded city. Everywhere Lakshmi looks, she is surrounded by people, animals, carts, and trucks.
Auntie pulls her onto a larger truck, which she calls a bus, and it travels quickly through the streets. A Strange Man.. Daily Life Lakshmi's Village Upon arrival, the girls are put in a "cell" as they adjust to the brothel and what is expected of them.
Mumtaz shows Lakshmi her ledger book, which says that she must work to pay off the 10,000 rupees paid for Lakshmi.

It only says that one number, but she knows what it really says:
lies, pain, dishonor, deceit, men, and humiliation.

Even the new girl is somewhat excluded from the other girls in the brothel, seen as an outsider, and not to be trusted.
When Lakshmi arrived, Shahanna tried to befriend her and share tips and explain what was happening, but she was glared at and silenced by the other girls. The next morning Lakshmi goes with her stepfather to the village store, where she meets a woman from a far away city.
This woman gives her stepfather 400 rupees, promising the rest after Lakshmi has proven her worth working as a maid.
While the woman talks with her stepfather, the store owner tells Lakshmi that she must do exactly as this woman, "Auntie", tells her, or her family will not be given the rest of the money . Auntie tells Lakshmi to walk ahead of her as they leave the village.
She throws gravel at her heels to keep her moving at a quick pace.
As they leave, Lakshmi takes one last look back at her village. She is the first member of her family ever to leave. The bus speeds out of the city and along a strange black road. Lakshmi looks all around her, but no matter which direction she faces, she cannot see the mountains of her village.
The bus travels through more cities, and Lakshmi is confused. She though Auntie was taking her to the city.

Auntie explains that the city she was going to work in is much bigger. After a long time on the bus, Auntie and Lakshmi arrive at another city. They go into a house, where Auntie gives Lakshmi a pink dress and new shoes.
Once she's dressed Auntie takes her down the hallway and meets a man who speaks a language Lakshmi doesn't understand.
They seem to argue back and forth, and then the man hands Auntie a huge bundle of rupees. Auntie leaves.

The man tells Lakshmi that he is her Uncle, but she must call him Husband. He will take her across the border, which is a very dangerous place.

He says they will meet up with Auntie again once they get there. "One day, a customer addressed his friend as they left.
'How was yours?' he said. 'Was she good?'
'It was great,' the other one said. 'I wish I could do it again.'
'Me, too,' said the first one. 'If only I had another thirty rupees.'

Thirty rupees.
That is the price of a bottle of Coca-Cola at Bajai Sita's store.
That is what he paid for me." (146)
(30 rupees is roughly 25 cents.) Because Lakshmi refuses to be with men, she is beaten and starved. Eventually, she is given a cold drink laced with sleeping medicine.
When she wakes, Habib enters, and she is forced to take her first customer.
In the days that follow, more men come. Some real, some imagined. Lakshmi cannot tell a difference.

Each morning, Shahanna comes with a cup of tea and pity in her eyes.
Lakshmi knows this is real. Every night, men come to us. Sometimes we take 20 or more men in one night.
No matter how despicable we think our job, we bat our eye lashes and learn little tricks to attract the men's attention and get them to choose us.
No matter how dirty, old, fat, or drunk a man is, he is a paying customer who gets us closer to going home.
We have come to accept this as our new life, inescapable until our debt is paid. Nepal is characterized by its isolated position in the Himalayas and its two neighbors, India and China.

Due to the arrival of disparate settler groups from outside through the ages, it is now a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multilingual
country. Central Nepal was split in three kingdoms from the 15th century until the 18th century, when it was unified under the Shah monarchy.

The national language of Nepal is Nepali. The official state religion is
Hindu. "The Motherland Is Worth More than the Kingdom of Heaven." History History, Language, Religion Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world with nearly half of its population living below the poverty line.

Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy.

Currency: 1 Nepalese Rupee (NR) divided into 100 paise Exchange Rate: 74.5 NR = 1 US Dollar Economy After a season of starvation and drought, the rain finally arrives.

Lakshmi's mother pops a small handful of maiz as a treat for Lakshmi.

It is not often when a special occasion like this occurs. They now travel by train. Uncle-Husband sleeps while Lakshmi writes in her notebook about everything she has seen so far.
Everything is different since they crossed the border.

Uncle-Husband informs her not to speak to anyone lest others will try to take advantage of her. The Uncle-Husband and Lakshmi now travel by a man-powered rickshaw.

They sit in traffic waiting to cross the border.
He offers her sweets, and she accepts with joy beyond words.

The border patrol examines their cart and asks Lakshmi if the man is husband, in which she says yes.
She asks Uncle-Husband when they would cross the border and he says that they already have.

He gives her a handful of sweets as a reward. The train stops at a metal hut.
There is a man with a grill selling food.

Uncle Husband buys a roti and gives it to Lakshmi. They arrive at the Happiness House.

Uncle-Husband and Mumtaz begin to bargain.

He offers Lakshmi for the price of fifteen thousand rupees.

Mumtaz buys her for ten thousand ($183.42). The train stops again. Restroom break.

As Lakshmi returns she witnesses the humiliation of another woman. The train stops once more.
Uncle-Husband and Lakshmi begin to walk to the Happiness House.

On their way, she witnesses a poverty not too different from that of her home. Some girls prefer to remain in the brothel even after their debt is paid rather than to return home because of the shame brought to the family.
Monica tried to go home, but her family met her at the city gates and told her to not enter the city.
They had even told Monica's daughter that she had died. After a couple weeks, Lakshmi was moved into the room where the other girls stayed and a new girl replaced her in the cell.
This girl found another use for the shawl given to the girls:
She was found hanging from the rafters. Lakshmi is lucky. Because she went to school and has a good bit of knowledge about math she is able to do calculations to figure how long it will take her to pay back her debt. She keeps a journal hidden under her pillow and works on the calculations whenever she has time. Lakshmi was sold to Happiness House for 10,000 20,000 rupees.

She makes 30 rupees per customer and brings about half a dozen men to her room each night.

If she works for a hundred days, you will have almost enough to pay back her debt and return home. Her friend Shahanna finds the journal and teaches Lakshmi city subtraction. Half of each man’s payment is given directly to Auntie Mumtaz.

80 rupees goes toward your daily meal of rice and dal.

100 rupees a week is paid for your bed and pillow.

500 rupees a month for the shot from the dirty hands doctor so you will not get pregnant. 30 x 6 = 180 180 x 100 = 18,000 180 / 2 = 90 90 - 80 = 10 (You make about 70 rupees a week.) 70 - 100 = -30 (You will lose about 900 rupees a month.) Lakshmi realizes that she is being buried alive. If she makes (on average) 10 rupees as a tip from each customer she will make only 700 rupees ($12.81) a month.

She works up the courage to show your calculations to Mumtaz. Lakshmi is clever, but Mumtaz tells her that she is forgetting a few things. When Lakshmi got sick, Mumtaz gave her medicine.

Her clothes . . .

Her shoes . . .

Mumtaz pays the electricity.

She provides of the comforts Lakshmi takes for granted. The fan, the music, the TV.

And then there is the interest. Mumtaz did not give the money to Lakshmi's family; it was an investment. "It's as I thought. You have at least five more years here with me" (226). The girls at Happiness House tell Lakshmi some of the unspoken rules: Tell the customers you are twelve.
When you are finished with a man, wash yourself with a wet rag to prevent getting a disease.
If you are given a treat, eat it right away or Mumtaz will find it and take it from you.
If you get a tip, hide it where no one will find it.
Each month a government person comes to the back door with a basket of condoms. Take a handful and hide them under your mattress. "[. . .] a girl my age crouches in the dirt. Her scalp has been freshly shaved--pale and fragile as a bird's egg--and hanks of her long dark hair lie in coils at her feet." "That's what she gets," he says, "for trying to run away [. . .]" (85) "Finally, we turn down an alley and arrive in front of a metal gate held fast with a heavy chain. Uncle takes a key from his vest, opens the lock, and hurries me inside" (90). Mumtaz calls Lakshmi an ignorant hill girl. On her first day of work she decides to try and leave for home. Mumtaz catches her in the act and orders Shahanna to bring a pair of scissors. Mumtaz cuts off Lakshmi's hair and leaves her looking like a disgraced woman. If she tries to escape the men on the street will just bring her back to Happiness House. Lakshmi's punishment is not yet over. She is beaten with with a leather strap and kept locked in her room without food or water. By the time it is over, she will not think about running away. Thankfully, Lakshmi has yet to endure the worst of the possible punishments from Happiness House. If you cross Mumtaz, you will have to feel the chili peppers. "[. . .] it is a sound that turns even the hardest woman here into a whimpering child" (957). Corruption Escape As Lakshmi came down the stairs one night, she saw Mumtaz handing a roll of rupees notes to a uniformed man. Shahanna tells her that he is a policeman. Each week Mumtaz bribes him to look the other way. From Transparency International:
"Corruption undoes institutional safeguards, rooted in basic human rights and other international norms, which should legally protect the victim." One month Mumtaz does not make all of her payments and the police raid Happiness House. Anita takes Lakshmi to hide in a cellar under the kitchen. When the raid is over, the girls find the TV smashed and food thrown around, but worst of all Lakshmi does not see her friend Shahanna. The Americans: A strange customer shows up to Happiness House, and is sent to Lakshmi's room. He looks unlike anyone she has ever seen before--pink skin, straw-colored hair. He is an American. He asks questions and tells Lakshmi about a clean place he can take her to. She is too afraid to answer, and he soon leaves, placing a card with a white dove in her waistcloth. Time passes and Lakshmi soon regrets not listening to the American. She became friends with the street boy who comes in each day and finally works up the courage to give him the card and ask him for help. Lakshmie does not see the boy again; she realizes she does not even know his name. Lakshmi stops counting the days since she asked the boy for help. Just as she begins to lose hope, an American shows up. She takes him to her room, but is again too afraid to speak. He begins to ready himself to leave, but Lakshmi stops him.

"The clean place," I say. "I want to go there" (250). He tells her that he will be back, and then he is gone. One morning Anita pulls Lakshmi out of bed and into the closet to hide. It is another raid, but this time she is not afraid.

Lakshmi's American calls out to her, but Anita is afraid to open the door. She tries to convince Lakshmi to stay hidden. "The new TV is coming any day now. Mumtaz promised" (262).

Laskshmi pushed past her friend and runs down the stairs to the American. Mumtaz lunges at spits, but the police hold her back. Lakshmi looks at your American and the group with him. "My name is Lakshmi."
"I am from Nepal."
"I am fourteen years old." And she is free. http://www.traffickingproject.org/ Nepal Human Trafficking Approximately 10,000 Nepalese girls between the ages nine and sixteen are sold to Indian brothels every year. Depending on their appeal, each can be sold for between $200 to $600. Approximately 200,000 Nepali girls are involved in the sex trade. Nepal is one of the largest centers involved in sex trafficking. Most are unmarried, uneducated, and illiterate. They are not exported only to India but also China, Southeast Asia and Middle East. "The 10-year-old was being charged with prostitution. She wore a detention jumpsuit. She had shackles binding her skinny ankles." (CNN)
Before 2010, there were 6 beds east of the Mississippi River.
In 2009, a study estimated that there were roughly 300,000 youths considered "at risk."
The CIA estimates 45,000-50,000 victims, and another 14,500-17,500 victims adding to the number yearly.

Department Of Justice has identified the top twenty human trafficking jurisdictions in the country: Atlanta was listed at #4. (Department of Justice)
The average age of entry into sex trafficking is 13-14 years old.
Some are as young as 5 years old.
In the United States alone, human trafficking generates roughly $9.5 billion per year.
The average victim may be forced to have sex 20-48 times a day.

Once found, charging the victim with prostitution is often the fastest and easiest way for the police to get the child out of the situation.
As of a few years ago, there were fewer than 100 beds in the United States.
Even if the victims can escape, they often must face jail simply because there is no where else to go.
There is still an alarmingly low number of "rescue homes" for the victims to go to once rescued. Atlanta The Human Trafficking Project The American Chronicle: "Nepal is certainly an important country globally for urgent HIV/AIDS interventions?" 38% tested positive for HIV
Girls who were trafficked prior to the age of 15 were at increased risk for HIV with over 60% of this group testing positive for infection
Girls who were trafficked prior to the age of 15 were also at greater risk of being detained in multiple brothels with longer periods at each one
Additional factors associated with HIV positivity included being trafficked to Mumbai and longer duration of forced prostitution
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