When Women Become Rental Property

It was a typical social networking event for me. I was speaking with a gentleman I barely knew about the horrors of human trafficking. Looking back, I realize I could have talked about something lighter at the happy hour, but some days, this work is all-consuming. 

I remember the way his expression turned and the color drained from his face as I told him about the “seasoning” process used by the pimps and victimizers who beat, rape, starve, burn and abuse the women until they lose hope of escaping their new living hell.

After the event, I thought more about our conversation and a remark about how the women are “treated worse than dogs,” and I considered why that was.

When you have a dog, you have a sense of ownership. That is YOUR dog. You’re invested in its well being. You want it to stay healthy because you love it, and because if it falls ill, you’ll have vet bills, and down time as well.

Similarly, when you own a car, you have a sense of ownership about that car. You want it to stay clean, to run well and as long as possible, in part because you’re quite fond of it, but also because you’re responsible for it when something goes wrong.

Most people don’t choose to abuse their own dogs or to purposefully damage their own cars. But that is most people.

Then, there are those people who have very little respect for beings or things, especially when they belong to someone else. These are the people who rent a home and are fine with destroying the carpet or letting it fall into disrepair, because it’s someone else’s problem. These are the people who abuse animals they find on the street. They trash a rental car. Truth be told, you may have veered closer to THAT type of person, than to the first type. The time you didn't concern yourself with the treatment of a hotel room simply because it’s human nature to care more when things are YOURS.

In India, the value of a woman is directly related to her relationship to a man. First, her father, then her husband, and sometimes, even her son. But, in a recent article I read, someone said, “If a woman belongs to no man, she belongs to all men.” This is the situation in which thousands of women find themselves after losing the man who society sees as her protector.

One solution to vulnerable situations like this is ensuring that women are financially independent. With dignified employment, a woman is able to provide for herself even if she loses the man that society sees as responsible for her.

Made for Freedom exists to support women rescued from sexual exploitation as well as those coming out of marginalized situations. We partner with centers in India and numerous countries around the world, each providing life skills, job training and dignified employment.

You can help end exploitation by choosing to buy ethically made products and supporting businesses committed to ethical manufacturing.

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