Pravin Patkar, Ph.D., is a professional social worker, sociologist, and the Co-Founder and Director of a civil society organization Prerana, which has been working on 24X7 basis since 1986 in Mumbai's red-light areas to end the sex trafficking of children of the red-light area based trafficked and prostituted women. Prerana is internationally known for its groundbreaking interventions for child protection and against gender-based violence in the anti-trafficking and allied domains. As a Fulbright Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellow, Dr. Patkar was in residence at the University of Rhode Island USA in 2015-16.
This article discusses the need for greater conceptual clarity of the term survivor. It raises questions about the propriety of the term to refer to the victims of sex trafficking. It points out that in the Indian context, the term victim is legally and operationally defined. It cautions against the hasty incorporation of the term survivor into public policies addressing the trafficked victims' problems. Different social platforms use the term survivor differently, and the difference is not nominal. The use of the term survivor is both casual as well as intentional. The term survivor trivializes the exploitation and makes invisible the violence inherent to prostitution and sex trafficking. It cautions that the replacement of the term victim with the term survivor in public policies and programs aimed at providing assistance, compensation, and justice to traffic victims could result in such benefits getting hijacked by the exploiters; and the voices of the victims will get further muffled.
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"Survivor: An Analysis of the Term from India,"
Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence:
3, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dignity/vol5/iss3/4
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