In the last months, floods and landslides in Southern India have killed over 350, displaced 800,000 and affected over a million people.
Across Karnataka and Kerala states, one of the worst affected areas is the Kodagu region where thousands of people have been left homeless and have taken refuge in 51 relief centres and camps across the district. Many of these people are migrants from elsewhere in India who work on coffee plantations, who are now without work, and highly vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking – especially the women and girls.
Latha is one such lady: she was working on a coffee estate before the disaster, but her house and all her belongings were destroyed by landslides and flooding and she and her family are now sheltering in the nearby school. Latha used to earn the equivalent of about £2 a day working on the plantation, but the coffee estates have been destroyed so there is now no chance of any employment and she has no idea how she and her family will be able to live. She told the Oasis team about ‘placement agencies’ that have visited the school and other camps, and who they are offering people jobs in others states. With her home destroyed, Latha feels that she has little option other than migration to another state to take up the opportunity of one of these jobs.
Through their anti-human trafficking work, the Oasis India team are well placed to know how traffickers target this type of disaster, and how dangerous migration can be for Latha and others like her. They are sending a team to Kodagu to help set up safe places for women and children and prevent trafficking.
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