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The numbers related to sexual exploitation of minor girls in India are hard to believe. The latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics show that human trafficking rose by 25% in the year 2015. 40% of these cases involve the exploitation of children, with 1.25 million girls being forced into child prostitution.
Perhaps the most staggering fact is that despite the rampant violations that take place, only 55 cases in 2015 led to conviction.
One of the reasons for the same is the lack of lawyers with special expertise in the fields of human trafficking and child prostitution. In an attempt to remedy this abysmal situation, a host of organisations have come together to run the School for Justice, an initiative started by Free a Girl, which is an international organization fighting against human trafficking and sexual exploitation across the world.
The School for Justice, which was launched in April this year, is more a programme than an actual physical school. Victims of child prostitution will get the opportunity to study law at the best law universities in the country, so that they may become lawyers and put the criminals that once owned them behind bars.
A representative from the initiative says,
“They (the girls) have a furious determination to help young girls and women facing similar fates. The School for Justice is collaborating with the best law universities in India to guarantee a first-rate education and the opportunity to become successful lawyers.”
The students of the School for Justice have been rescued from various parts of the country by the partners of Free a Girl. After receiving adequate psychological and medical care following the trauma they have endured, the girls will be given the opportunity to get an education.
“The School for Justice accepts girls who are currently studying in 10th grade and onwards. They will already be in the programme but offsite they will receive training and tuition until they clear level 11 to level 12, the needed level for acceptance into university.”
At the law university, they will receive the same instruction as any other student. The School will offer support to the girls through the five-year law course. According to information on the website, once they obtain their degree, the School for Justice will lobby with the government to give them a chance to become public prosecutors.
The tales of the girls are harrowing. They have been through endless amounts of abuse, having been sold into prostitution by their own family members. But now, it seems, there is light at the end of the tunnel. And that light comes in the form of a legal education.
For the more privileged, a law degree can open up a wide variety of doors, but for them, it is a new lease on life.
“The laws are there in India, but they are not implemented or used in the right way. This needs to stop, and that’s what the School for Justice students will aim to do. They will become lawyers with critical legal skills to deal with human trafficking cases to ensure convictions and tackle impunity surrounding the problem.”