Repeated climate-fueled disasters in the Indian state of West Bengal have left a wake of destitution and vulnerability among the population, leading to an increase in human trafficking, forced sex work, and even organ and blood trafficking, The Guardian reports. The eastern Indian state, on the border with Bangladesh — and especially the Sundarbans landscape of rivers, mud flats, and mangrove forest — is the area hit by disasters most frequently. Those massive storms, including three super cyclones in the last four years, have killed hundreds of people and, along with rising sea levels, leave behind submerged villages and salinated, arid farmland.
The disproportionate harms to women and girls resulting from misogyny following climate-fueled disasters are also intertwined with the extractive industries, such as American fracking and pipeline construction, that fuel the crisis.
“The traffickers know how these families are vulnerable and they come with hope when the situation is desperate, and people are searching for something better,” Subhasree Raptan, who runs Goranbose Gram Bikash Kendra, a local NGO that helps recover and rehabilitate victims of trafficking. “They may offer a good job or a good marriage opportunity. They may trap the girls over the phone or in some cases social media, calling them or sending them messages or love proposals. They gain the trust – and then they exploit.” (The Guardian)