Sun Bangla’s new TV soap “Kone Bou” had its first telecast on 23rd of September 2019. From the promos and an article about the serial in one of the leading dailies, we got a gist of the story.
The story surrounds Koli, a victim of human trafficking. Mahi, the one who rescues Koli and gives her shelter. Parijat, Mahi’s fiancé and Koli’s trafficker. Mahi takes a stand and forces wedlock between Parijat and Koli, ie. between the trafficker and the victim.
Being survivors of trafficking ourselves, we have some feedback for the producer and directors of the serial, since it directly affects us and our struggle.
If this happens in real life, “Does the marriage bring back Koli’s respect?”
It definitely does not. Parijat is forced to marry her. He and his family will continue to stigmatise her, and there is every probability of increased violence and harassment. On the other hand, we don’t understand what “respect” exactly means to Mahi.
“What do victims of trafficking feel about getting married to their trafficker?”
None of the survivors would want to get married to their traffickers. There is no guarantee that she won’t be re-trafficked. The survivor would never forget the oppression she endured; she will be filled with rage and anger. She may even want revenge. Though, she can be forced to marry under family pressure.
This type of narration where the criminal gets decriminalised by marrying one of his victims is very problematic, on ethical and practical levels. After the marriage, the society may think that the girl was never trafficked and that they had eloped for the wedding. And if the marriage breaks down, society will say the trafficking case against the criminal was done as an act of revenge for not marrying the girl. The survivor needs to take legal action against the trafficker instead of getting married. A popular medium, like a TV soap, should have been more sensitive while dealing with such an incident.
UTTHAN – More than Survivors. More than Stories.
Leaders in the fight to create a world without human trafficking.
UTTHAN is a survivors leaders’ collective in India, working individually and collectively to bring healing, justice and empowerment into communities, around issues of trafficking, sexual exploitation and violence.
Utthan promotes transformation through building a community of survivor leaders of human trafficking by creating a platform for survivor-led advocacy, peer-to-peer mentorship, education, skills development and leadership opportunities that embraces all survivors, regardless of gender, age, nationality or type of trafficking experience.