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A photographer who works with sexual trafficked survivors by bringing about systematic changes

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hey lina how are you today hi rupali i'm doing good how are you doing thank you thank you so much for having me on board yeah i'm so glad we connected i know i've been reading all your facebook posts and stuff and you're doing amazing work with your new project the missing project tell me a little bit more about it why you got started and you know where you are so it's not so new anymore it's now five years and actually the seats of the project started way back uh i'm a photographer and i kind of entered a red light district in in 2000 the first time i went to carlite and it's it was a moment which didn't lead me because when i entered there and i um kind of felt the vibrations and i kind of felt really really empathic towards all the ladies standing there and i just felt that there's so much to do and there's so many stories to be told their viewpoints to be shared and since then actually for the last 20 years now i have been working with some of the other organization in that space and now since we've started missing we have our own anti-trafficking drive happening since 2015. wow so you tell me a little bit more about like you are uh rescuing these girls from what kind of situations so let me just tell you a little history about how it started so i'm a photographer and as my uh yours you know through the years when i was working in the red light with my friends i realized that the pet peeve was that the public which is the biggest stakeholder in an issue of a girl getting traffic is far away from all the conversations they are saying where there is a demand there is a supply so if you see girls standing on the road because there is a demand being created by the local john or by john's of all shapes and sizes and nobody really talks about them everybody's talking about the prostitute or the victim nobody's talking about every john who goes and buys sex they there's nobody in a conversation so there was this whole thing about how do you really end demand so when i is an artist went in i said i'm an artist i want to talk to the public and that's when missing projects started i did a whole summer residency on public art and i created the missing girl silhouette and the silhouette is something which uh it's like a silent argument in a public space that's what a curator called it and i thought it's the most beautiful way to describe it yeah a silent argument in a public space it's kind of telling you hey these girls are going missing so you can't you can't move your eyes away you can't revert your eyes you have to face it head-on and so that's what missing does as a project engages the public on multiple spaces through public art through uh games apps in our school program and we have our whole sundarbans program which is going strong which is what you're talking to me about the survivors who we work with yeah so you have any story of uh survivor that you helped and that's really touched your heart yeah so you know way back when i started going to sundarbans uh before i only started work there i met a survivor she was uh she was suing something you know and um and you know as we were talking we just happened to talk about you know whatever happened was really sad and the moment we mentioned the incident she just froze she froze roopali ah eyes dilated yeah she froze and literally i was sitting next to her and i touched her arm and she'd become cold wow just even remembering it got such intense fear in our eyes and our thoughts yeah i said can you imagine we all can feel it but so when she kind of came around she says you know i didn't know this happens she was a young 12 13 year old girl she was already when she was traffic she was i think 14. she was one who really lucky bunking school you know uh you know going away from home with friends in the fields enjoying herself just like any regular teenager yeah and she said i didn't know that this happens and i feel that's the main reason why most of the sex abuse and exploitation and trafficking happens across the world there is a very there's an importance of a systematic education and awareness of this and that's what i set out to do but i think it's her story first story which and first time i came in touch with a survivor and that's never left me yeah so you know yeah yeah no i think these these are just like just reading about it is so heart-wrenching and the people who are going through it it's unimaginable right tell me what do you do i mean you deal with such uh you know highly charged emotional things all the time what do you do to keep your sanity like what do you keep to do grounding like you know how are you keeping your sanity alive i am very happy that i'm driven by this purpose i found my light purpose and i think it's also because i was searching for my light purpose and first i found it in my art and then i'm so glad through my art it's taken me to a greater good and um what keeps me grounded is my guru i i have a guru and i'm so blessed to have them in my life yeah and it's beautiful yeah yeah yeah spiritual bond is all everybody needs in their life right yeah i mean for me it's been my lifeline yeah and even now with all the tragedy we are seeing all around us uh it's something which has held me together and um i don't know what to do without it i'm happy to have found my life purpose and i think i've also found my life purpose because of my guru and uh but i feel we all as human beings that we have in finite capabilities in finite and we limit ourselves like there's so much you know we've been the kind of power we have yeah actually superhumans we've got you've got hands legs feet you've got brains the power of the brain yeah like we look at the joints we have look at the things you can move you can do anything just like that is so much which can happen here i i think it's in in finite possibilities and we all should just go explore it yeah i'm so glad uh lena you're doing something so worthwhile and at the end of the life you would have made touch so many lives thank you so much for chatting with us thank you so much thank you so

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Listen to this photographer who works with sexual trafficked survivors and works to prevent it #stophumantrafficking #stopabuse

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