Main : abuse, fiction, human rights, India, sex industry, violence against women
Anne Ch. Ostby
They call them ‘women of love,’ but the lyrical beauty of the term has a hidden dark side: a workforce of very young girls tasked with feeding their families by offering up their bodies for sale. The girls belong to the Nat which includes some of India’s very poorest. For centuries, the Nat men have sent their daughters, sisters, and wives into sex trafficking. Baby girls are welcome arrivals in these towns of love—everyone knows that one day, they will be the breadwinners. As a Nat, you are untouchable, despised by Indian society. How would anyone dare break free of this legacy of prostitution, when it also would mean being shunned by your entire family?
Tamanna dares. As a nineteen-year-old, she breaks free and runs away. But it costs her dearly—she is forced to leave her five-year-old daughter Rupa behind with Jabbar, in the house with the big gleaming knife. Eight years later, Tamanna knows that time is running out for Rupa. She demands help, both from the police and from the underfunded aid organization Pukaar. And who could look a mother in the face and argue that saving her daughter isn’t worth risking everything?
With insight and brutal honesty, Anne Ch. Ostby paints a vivid picture of some of the world’s most vulnerable women and children. And the “women of love” do exist in India today, in the northern state of Bihar, where the author has travelled extensively and come to know them. Town of Love is a raw and gripping story that is guaranteed to leave you breathless.
With a Preface by Ruchira Gupta, founder of the Indian NGO Apne Aap on which Pukaar is based.
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Having personally met the survivors of trafficking about whom this is written, I know that Anne Ostby’s novel deserves world attention. It is the essence of a terrible truth that must be exposed.Gloria Steinem
A forceful and brutal novel about powerlessness, but also a heart-warming story about love – and about hope. It’s a novel that wakes you up, that makes you reflect on the value of a human being!Anne Schaffer, Tara Magazine, Norway
The ambition and sensitivity of Ostby's vision open the mind to the plight of a society demeaned by how it treats its most vulnerable members.Cameron Woodhead, The Age
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