Girls in big bad cities: Nagalandpost editorial

With lack of avenues for employment in Nagaland, the number of educated youth looking for openings have risen sharply over the past few years. The advent of global business communication and liberal trade regime has resulted in creation of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) which has become one of the key elements of global trade link and of which Call Centres play a pivotal role. Some ten years back, Call Centres mushroomed throughout the country amid the churning sea of a globalised economy.

The opening of employment avenues was given the biggest boost when Call Centres absorbed thousands of youth and it seemed to be the beginning of the end of joblessness. Naga boys and girls found it difficult to resist the lure of the Call Centres especially when they paid handsome amount. The added bonus was these Call Centres were mostly in the big metropolitan cities of the country. The Naga boys and girls, perhaps like other tribals, by virtue of being educated in English medium schools and colleges have good command over communication in English. In addition, the youth are also skilled in service industry such as Call Centres and telemarketing etc. There are hundreds of Naga youth today employed in Call Centres across metropolitan cities and satisfied with around Rs.15,000 monthly salary; no matter even if the amount is considered a pittance by city standards. Invariably, Call Centres attract more young girls than boys in view of the static nature of the work. The recent incident in New Delhi where two Naga girls were victimized for resisting the sexual advances of the BPO Manager(M/s Accurate Business Processing Outsourcing), brings to the fore the grave hazards of the trade. Some years ago, there was a report that most of the Call Centres turned out to be fronts for luring young and helpless tribal girls into flesh trade. Many girls living far away from home fall into traps from which most are unable to come out of. The tribals are known for being open and hospitable. They are also quite broadminded when it comes to making friends with the opposite sex and somehow this is taken as a sign of promiscuousness. The two Naga girls are reported to have been victimized and harassed for resisting the advances of the Manager. The consequence was that their salaries were withheld and vehicle used to pick and drop them from their residence at Safdarjung was also withdrawn. The North East Support Centre & Helpline ,New Delhi which highlighted the case has done a good service. The case should be probed and the accused booked and tried under relevant sections of the law. There are also many tribal girls employed as salesgirls in several business establishments in the cities. It is also an eye opener for girls from the state and the north east that some mechanism should be adopted to ensure that there are safeguards against sexual exploitation of girls. Perhaps some information sharing and networking among various organizations of the region can help prevent such victimization at the hands of unscrupulous and criminal minded persons.

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