The issues of climate change and depeasantisation mentioned elsewhere on this site can culminate in a ‘perfect storm’ of conditions that see young girls sold for sex. Trafficking of young girls for slave labour or as sex slaves is on the increase across Asia where water scarcity and an unpredictable climate are impacting on agricultural productivity. As agriculture becomes less profitable and less possible, more farmers are giving up farming and more farm workers are losing their jobs. This can leave people in a desperate situation. Increasingly, parents with no alternative income possibilities are sending their daughters off to the city or abroad as part of the overall increase in economic migration from rural areas. The girls are sent to what they believe to be domestic work, jobs in child care or care for the elderly. Many of those girls end up in brothels or factories.
Numerous organisations are now involved in tracking these girls down and coordinating with the police for their return. According to the UN, women and girls make up 71% of human trafficking victims.
In some areas, it has been reported, the adoption of climate smart agriculture has been instrumental in preventing trafficking. The Indian non-profit, Gramya Vikas Mancha, has reported that the introduction of SRI in Assam, India, has helped rice growers develop their resilience to local water scarcity and as a result, those involved in the rural economy can secure their food supplies and incomes without resorting to desperate measures. Clearly, SRI is a powerful tool in the fight to adapt to a changing climate. Climate change adaptation is going to be a key factor in stemming the flow of migration to cities and trafficking of young girls. And prevention is very much the key. The fallout for young girls even when they are saved from traffickers can be devastating, as Nata Kishore Mishra, founder of CIRTD in Odisha, India, warns. “The problem is,” he says, “that once the girls are tracked down and returned to their village, they are often rejected by community members.”
CIRTD, the Centre for Indigenous Rights and Tribal Development, like Gramya Vikas Mancha, encourages farmers to adopt SRI and SRI principles with other crops and works to prevent trafficking and help girls who have been trafficked.