Project Kolkata is a student-led overseas community involvement project which serves former sex-trafficked women and their children in India. Human trafficking is a persistent national problem in India. Kolkata has consistently topped the list of states with the highest number of human trafficking cases. Most of the victims are women and children, transported through the state’s borders of Nepal and Bangladesh, to be recruited into the sex trade. This has culminated in Kolkata being identified as the world’s worst human trafficking zone.
It is this demographic that Project Kolkata is interested and focused on helping. The women who face stigmatisation, psychological trauma, loss of dignity from working in the sex industry, and a heightened risk of HIV/AIDS, STDs with their numerous complications. Their children who lack proper nutrition, education, healthcare, and in general a safe environment to grow up in. We partner with 3 NGOs – New Light India, Tollygunge Women in Need and TouchNature – to conduct health screenings and health education for the women and their children.
Apart from healthcare issues, human trafficking is deeply intertwined with social and economic problems. While providing health screening and education, we are placed in a unique position to interact with women formerly from the sex trade and the social workers helping them. Through this, we learn more about the harsh truths of the sex trade and its lasting impact of individuals. Ultimately, we hope to broaden our perspective on the function of medicine in a vastly different context.
Tollygunge Women in Need