#minorsextrafficking | Twin crises of coronavirus and climate change put girls in India at risk of trafficking 

The key, Ms Raptan says, is to reduce stigma around trafficking and create awareness so that girls know how to spot suspicious behaviour. “We cannot stop migration,” she says. “But how are we promoting safe migration?”

As a result, many members of Bandhan Mukti have reported girls coming to them for help in preventing child marriages or potential trafficking cases. “People see us as victims, but we are also leaders,” explains Anu, a Bandhan Mukti survivor who was trafficked into forced prostitution for three years at the age of 11.

Nowadays, she feels less confident that the group can make a difference. The pandemic and destruction wrought by the cyclone mean that the women are currently unable to visit many of the most remote communities. “People cannot campaign easily like earlier,” she says. “Children and women are lacking a support system.” 

And as climate change causes sea surface temperatures to rise, the frequency and severity of cyclones like the one earlier this year is set to increase. A decade on from the flood which washed away her family home, Rumana is rebuilding it once again.

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