V. J. Nagender Rao, Gulf News reader. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: In a bid to raise funds for victims of human trafficking in India, I am all set to scale Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania on August 6. I was first introduced to this issue three years ago, when watching Technology, Entertainment, Design Talks (Ted), a global set of conferences that address a range of topics.

The introduction of the video was utterly shocking. Children as young as three or four years of age were being raped and sold into the flesh trade. It left me completely shocked, learning that in India alone, over 200,000 women and children are inducted into the flesh trade every year.

I didn’t know that innocent children are forced into such activities. My heart skipped a beat when I realised that we are living in a world with all these sad and painful things happening around us. According to the video, the traffickers pretend to care for the girls’ well-being and offer their support. As a result, the girls trust them and believe that they will help them secure a decent job or career.

Most girls have no idea they are being trafficked, until they reach the brothel where they are sold. Every girl has the right to live her dreams and not be forced, pushed and abused. Girls are not products and are not for sale! With all these kinds of cruel and inhumane things happening around us, I want to do my part in helping out.

Since my introduction to the issue of human trafficking, I have been in touch with the Rescue Foundation (www.rescuefoundation.net), a Mumbai-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) that has been instrumental in rescuing thousands of women and young children from brothels in India.

I’ve always felt that challenges are what make life interesting, hence I’ve decided to get out of my comfort zone and climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain. I do not possess any climbing experience but have been training for the past three months and should be ready by August. As of now, I will be attempting the climb alone and hope to raise $10,000 (Dh 36,729.50), which will be donated to the NGO.

Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the seven summits in the world and stands at 5,895 metres (19,341ft) above sea level. The night temperatures can range between -18C to -26C and the chilly wind may reach dangerous levels. Of about 20,000 people who attempt to climb Kilimanjaro each year, one-third do not reach the summit, as stated by a report in The Telegraph, a UK-based newspaper. This is usually due to altitude or acute mountain sickness.

This is an ambitious charity expedition and the first of its kind for me. It’s an overwhelmingly tough eight-day climb to the summit. Given that it’s a huge decision, it took some time to convince my mother and wife. Though initially very sceptical, both of them have been incredibly supportive.

Those interested in supporting my cause can find all the details on my website, www.letsstophumantrafficking.com/index.html


— The reader is a sales executive based in Dubai.

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