Alternet.org this morning reported that climate changes in Northern India is causing many young women to be trafficked for sexual or labor exploitation. According to the report, a 17 year old girl’s widow mother used to work as a daily wage labor at rice fields in the village. But, “as the groundwater dries up the region and rains fall short, farmers are giving up rice production, leaving families like the girl without work and struggling to make ends meet.”  The report further proceeds with the writer’s realization that the climate changes has “a broader implications than it appears.” However, it does not address the fundamental flaws in Northern India, where poor women are left with no choices but to work for rice fields in the village.
Summer has always bee drought
Climate changes is not a recent phenomenon in Nalbari, India. The climate in the area is sub tropical with cold winter and dry summers. As one source puts it, the hot dry summer and frost danger during winter are two of many primary characteristics of sub tropical weather. Therefore, the climate changes or weather changes is anything new to the area causing human trafficking of children and women for sexual or labor exploitation. If subtropical weather should cause the women and children to be trafficked, the highest human trafficking region should be Central California, not Florida, Ohio, or anywhere else in the U.S.
The income immobility of Norther women in India affects their lives a lot more than climate changes
Income mobility is one’s ability to move upward of a social latter by increasing his or her income status in the society. Here is a good example demonstrating a higher income mobility. My uncle came to the United States 30 years ago and successfully became a businessman owning two houses in suburb, California. Though he did not receive any education in the United States, his hard work as a local grocery store owner rewarded him and placed him in the middle class man in San Francisco. However, had he needed personal connections and paid the bribes to a public servant to start his own business in this country, he would not have been able to accomplish what he had accomplished in this country. Therefore, one can say that people living in the U.S. has a higher income mobility than many women living in Northern India.
The reality of many Northern Indian women
Ideally, India is a democratic country, where a woman’s equal rights is guaranteed by the Constitution. However, that’s not the reality for most of Indian women, particularly for those living in Northern India. The victim’s widow mother, stated above, did not have to continuously depend on the daily wage labor at a rice field in the village. Instead, she could have loaned some money to open a small local restaurant, a garment shop, or a sewing business to support her family. Further, the 17 year old victim could have inherited the family business from her mother. However, this is a situation that most women in Northern India can only dream and hope for. Banking system is highly bureaucratic and corrupted in India. Therefore, unless she were a wealthy farmer with personal connections with the higher bank officials, she has no chance to receive a business loan regardless of her credit history.
The power of “I am destined to be poor”
Moreover, if she were a illiterate Hindu woman who were born in a lower caste family, she is more than likely to find her identity as an inferior being to male figures and other people in the higher caste group. Further, she would likely to believe that her poverty is her fate and destination. With such self-perception and mentality, she would be less likely to be willing to open a business with the hope that her life can be changed for the better. Hence, unless one can argue that these two factors, among many other things, are related to the climate changes in Northern India, blaming the weather changes for human trafficking in Northern India rarely seems warranted.