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Tea & Human Trafficking in India: 100,000 girls in Delhi

PostPosted: 22 Jul 2013
by ex-l
Despite it arguably not being "sattvic", the Brahma Kumaris are great tea drinkers. It's said that at one point Lekhraj Kirpalani want to prohibit tea and coffee as they were not "pure" but the resistance of his Brahma Kumari followers was so great that he had to give that idea up to appease them.

A recently report links the black tea you drink to the terrible examples of human trafficking in India. In one estimate, there was said to be 100,000 trafficked girls in Delhi alone. Some as young as 12 years old.

Now, it must be said the god of the BKs is not overly concerned about this ... despite claiming to the "The Lord of the Poor".

His chosen instruments of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, are far too busy chasing the rich, powerful, famous and good looking Bollywood stars ... or offer free and paid services to corporate executives ... to worry about such "weak" and "impure" souls (sarcasm), as the mainly indigenous tribes who make up the rural workers who pick their tea.

Indeed, those same Brahma Kumari instruments teach that those children must have done such very bad karma in their past life for it to happen to them!

But is it really so ... or it is just a combination of global capitalism, and caste exploiting marginal cultures who were themselves historically trafficked there by the British in the first place?

The simple BK solution ... "no hurry, no curry, no worry!" ... "it's the Fag End of the Iron Age and everyone has to suffer!!!" ... "don't think, don't ask, don't question" ... "just remember the BK Baba and just send them your good wishes" ... why, that will make you a "World Benefactor" and "earn you multi-millions" in the future heaven on earth to come!
From How poverty wages for tea pickers fuel India's trade in child slavery ...

When the trafficker came knocking on the door of Elaina Kujar's hut on a tea plantation at the north-eastern end of Assam, she had just got back from school. Elaina was 14 and wanted to be a nurse. Instead, she was about to lose four years of her life as a child slave.

She sits on a low chair inside the hut, playing with her long dark hair as she recalls how her owner would sit next to her watching porn in the living room of his Delhi house, while she waited to sleep on the floor. "Then he raped me," she says, looking down at her hands, then out of the door.

Elaina was in that Delhi house for one reason: her parents, who picked the world-famous Assam tea on an estate in Lakhimpur district, were paid so little they could not afford to keep her. There are thousands like her, taken to Delhi from the tea plantations in the north-east Indian state by a trafficker, sold to an agent for as little as £45, sold on again to an employer for up to £650, then kept as slaves, raped, abused. There are thought to be 100,000 girls as young as 12 under lock and key in Delhi alone: others are sold on to the Middle East and some are even thought to have reached the UK.

The trade, because the money which has been earmarked for the area by the government never reaches those who need it [due to corruption].

All tea plantations pays the same wages. Every leaf of every box of Assam tea sold by leading brands and supermarkets is picked by workers who earn a basic 12p an hour.

Whether it says says 'Fairtrade' on the box or is certified by the 'Rainforest Alliance' or the 'Ethical Tea Partnership' etc, it makes no difference. Workers received the same basic cash payment of 89 rupees (£1) a day, a little over half the legal wage for an unskilled worker. Each worker receives about 2p in cash for picking enough tea to fill a box of 80 tea bags, which then sells for upwards of £2 in the UK.

The price for keeping wages so low is that the workers cannot afford to keep their daughters and when the traffickers come offering to take the girls away, promising good wages and an exciting new life, they find it hard to say no.

The traffickers promise excitement and glamour, instead the girls often started to work every day at 4am and work until midnight, and are often never paid; kept as prisoners, unable to leave the house or contact her family, afraid they will end up in a brothel.

Some are sold to men as a playthings and then dumped, sick and diseased, after suffering rape, torture, kidnap, abuse.

In 2011-12, Indian government figures showed 126,321 trafficked children were rescued from domestic service, a year-on-year increase of nearly 27%. According to India's National Crime Record Bureau, a child goes missing in India every eight minutes. More than a third are never found. Village traffickers receive 4,000 rupees to 10,000 rupees per girl ($70 to $160). The girls, cheated of their wages, never get their money which is withheld and taken by their agents or suppliers. Many of the traffickers are women. In Delhi, the going price for a maid can be as much as 60,000 rupees, for which middle class buyers feels they have purchased the girl.

According to the Indian Tea Association, all workers in the main Brahmaputra valley estates receive a little over half the minimum legal wage and below internationally acknowledged poverty levels. Foreign tea sellers know this and hide behind certification schemes and claims of additional benefits and food rations which are, in fact, ways of keeping workers tied into semi-feudal relations with tea garden owners. The lion's share of the price of tea ending up in their profits, companies could easily afford to ensure all tea workers are paid a decent wage.

And how much different are the young girls handed over to the Brahma Kumaris with their dowries treated? I mean, why change an "impure" system when one can just exploit it to one's own benefit? ...

There are other options if you want to make a difference in this life ... NGOs like Odanadi aim to create a global movement to combat human trafficking, child exploitation and sexual violence and to rescue, protect and rehabilitate victims of trafficking and help them lead free, independent lives. To ensure that perpetrators of trafficking are brought to justice.

Re: Tea & Human Trafficking in India: 100,000 girls in Delhi

PostPosted: 22 Jul 2013
by Pink Panther
Anything we use regularly has more impact on us than anything used only occasionally. Tea drinkers drink tea very regularly. I am a tea drinker. For such things, I like to know what I am buying and absorbing into myself. I am not one for considering other's "spiritual or karmic vibrations" as having more effect on me than my conscience, but those who do - like the BKs should consider, according to their own paradigms, the implications of their choices.

I am in Australia and I buy 100% Australian grown tea ("Nerada" brand for those who know it). No massive transport costs or greenhouse miles, no exploited labour. It also happens to be inexpensive, actually cheaper than most imports (very unusual) and a decent quality.

I can say that some Fair Trade marketers have been exposed as being not much better than the larger companies, but there has been a push in recent years for more responsible policies and enforcement thereof. They are changing.

For those things you consume, especially those purchased regularly, it is worth researching, asking, petitioning to ensure that the highest ethical standards are maintained on all fronts - ecologically, human rights, labour rights etc. For a simple moral measure, ask yourself, "How would I like it if it was me in that position?", "Am I glad to be responsible for what goes along with this?"

Drinking ethical caffeine means you sleep better at night !


Re: Tea & Human Trafficking in India: 100,000 girls in Delhi

PostPosted: 22 Jul 2013
by ex-l
Photos from Indian Child Slavery

Rabina Khatun, 18, trafficked to Delhi at the age of 14 and was later gang raped (she has given written permission for her name and photograph to be published).

From time to time, I've pondered karma philosophy and, to be honest, I am not a great believer in it for the lack of any "stuff" through which it to travel or for the reliable mechanics required to explain the miracles karma believers assign to it. Highly complex random activity, triggered off my the expansion of the universe seems to explain most happenings.

That is, there is no "Law of Karma" (the idea of a "law" of karma is just a fear tactic laid down by those who like laying down laws on others and controlling them for their own good or bad).

For example, I cannot believe anyone who says, "it is the fault of all those girls ... they must have done bad things in their last life." Their bad luck was just being randomly conceived in the wrong place at the wrong time way beyond their control.

But where I can accept the idea of karma applying in a notional sense is at a village or community level, where every one knows everyone else and "doing bad things" and creating a bad reputation for oneself instantly bounces back on one or one's family. Nothing magical. All easily explained as a reaction against those thoughts and actions which are harmful or upset for the village or community.

If something accidentally bad happens, it's either due to factors way beyond human control, e.g. earthquakes or tsunamis, or due to something I did immediately prior, e.g. I ran too fast, I was tired and made a mistake, I was stupid and misjudged a situation.

Although the Brahma Kumaris have added their own twist, the kind of underlying karma philosophy the Brahma Kumaris use as an excuse to act callously and do nothing, to not modify their own behaviour to stop harm, is rooted in the caste born Brahmanical systems in which inequality is natural. Again nothing new (except their efforts to propel themselves to the top of the dung heap).

I always found the leaders somewhat indifferent to the point of callousness towards other suffer and highly conservative politically, e.g. they would not rock the social boat over tea workers or girl trafficking in India, but they would sit down for a cup of tea with the plantation owners, or send some Kumaris over to consult with their corporation. I find it hard to think of any occasion where the BKs have taken the side of the oppressed (except to seek to oppress them themselves with their "new, improved angelic oppression"!).

The core BK beliefs of karma and the End of the World (Destruction, Fag End of Kali Yuga) excuse individuals from any natural tendency towards charity or social reform and focuses all their efforts, attentions and wealth into sometime vain and bizarre and most worthless BK rituals. To be moved by compassion is a weakness, to be deluded that sending one's good thoughts is sufficient service to such individuals is condoned.

For example, the $200,000+ recently spend on a mixing desk to produce vapid self advertisements (a fraction of their total electronic expenditure), would have freed 4,500 young girls from slavery.

What struck me is how stupid the Brahma Kumari leaders are and how they have not changed in 30 years. Do they not even consider for a moment that if they *did* free 4,500 young girls from slavery ... then perhaps someone would *give* them or let them use a mixing desk for free?

Or even if individual BKs are disallowed from doing charity and social upliftment, why not use the power of a million adherents and simple say, "God says, no more unethical tea".

Arjun and Mukti Tati with a picture of their daughter Binita Tati, trafficked to Delhi from Lakhimpur district, Assam, at the age of 14. They have not seen her for three years

Young girls, next to be targeted.

Re: Tea & Human Trafficking in India: 100,000 girls in Delhi

PostPosted: 24 Jul 2013
by ex.brahma
Let the Drama take its course, there is nothing to do except be a watcher ...

A typical easy reply from the Brahma Kumaris to explain happinings in Life .!

If we attribute actions, accidents and even murders to "Karma", then why having courts of justice, penalties and punishments ..?!

Re: Tea & Human Trafficking in India: 100,000 girls in Delhi

PostPosted: 24 Jul 2013
by ex-l
With one million Brahma Kumari followers, if each was to give just £1, they could save 22,000 young girls ... raped is used by traffickers and agents as a tool of control and exploitation when girls complain. By robbing them of their "honor" they ruin a young woman’s marriage prospects, essentially trapping her for life.

Interesting to note, given their guru Lekhraj Kirpalani's business ... child labour is also highly prevalent in the Indian diamond industry and must have been far worse in his time.

Do you ever hear the Brahma Kumaris discussing the ethics of how he made the millions he started his cult with and they all lived off as "the pure ones"? Those millions were made from not paying and exploiting workers.

Perhaps he should have spent some of his profits freeing child slave laborers his industry used
(... or perhaps he just became used to slave workers and developed a religion that used them)?

Workers in the diamond business are paid only a fraction of 1% of the value of the stones they cut. Even to this day, as many as 25% of labourers in the diamond industry of Surat are children, as young as 8 years old, doing repetitive manual tasks in low-paying hazardous jobs in production facilities that are often rudimentary and unsafe. In one sample, 12.8% suffered from silicosis, 6.7% had tuberculosis and others were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. The indentured servitude of children, where they are sent to work for free, is a chronic problem. Even to this day in Myanmar/Burma, where Lekhraj Kirpalani had business, children as young as four are being exploited in the production of its rubies (90% of world's production) and workers earn less than a dollar a day and are regularly enslaved.

It is for reasons such as these that I never understood the Brahma Kumaris fixation with wealth or why they considered a super rich jeweller, profiting from pandering to super rich clients who exploited their own workers, to be anything great. It is an industry built on suffering and slaving ... they call it "blood diamonds" or "blood rubies", so much blood is spilled to sell them and yet, basically, they have no real practical value.

In almost all Indian industries girls are unrecognized labourers because they are seen as helpers and not workers.

This is the culture the Brahma Kumaris come from, not one where children have been freed from labour and educated by democratic laws. Indeed, the Brahma Kumaris work to the same system where they consider allowing women to work for them for free is for their own good!

Girls in India are not protected by the law, are exploited and deprived of their rights, and continue to live in poverty.

Re: Tea & Human Trafficking in India: 100,000 girls in Delhi

PostPosted: 25 Jul 2013
by Pink Panther
ex.Brahma wrote:If we attribute actions, accidents and even murders to "Karma", then why having courts of justice, penalties and punishments ..?!
This is the tension that modern Indian society faces as it seeks to shake off its chains of racism, casteism, religious fundamentalism, social inequality,exploitation of the disempowered, and tries to achieve "equality under the law" and move into the 21st century (which is not meant to happen by BK Gyan cosmology - ie after Abraham - 500 BC - there's only meant to be 2500 years, not 2536 years or any other number of years. i.e BC means Christ and we know within 7 years when he was supposed to have lived).

But the BKs love to play off both sides, seeking to exploit the secular VIPs as "mic" or "cooperative" (co-opted?) souls whilst believing that modern secular democracy & justice is the most degraded form that civil society ever takes (funny how there's never mention of totalitarian regimes in any Sakar Murli, given they were in the depths of the cold war era).

During the advent of the "new physics" of the 1960s and '70s, which often referenced the Tao and ancient vedic metaphors, the BKs were never able to successfully rope in any of these physicists, although some other traditionally (vedanta) oriented groups did (eg Siddha Yoga, TM, Divine light mission, Sri Chinmoy) draw some of them. The closest they got was Rupert Sheldrake, an influential & controversial biologist, but he ran a mile (avoided further contact) after he realised what he was getting involved with (I saw his face drop at one particular moment when some particular thing was said, implying he could now identify himself as a BK).

The BKs will also share any mass-audience public stage with any Guru, sat guru or Lama to immerse themselves in the ecumenical backwash and goodwill, whilst considering anything they may have to say as, at best, 'ignorant".

I was present when the Dalai Lama was a guest of the BKs in India at a conference and series of events. The BKs think they understand Buddhism as it is a 'branch of their tree" but they don't understand it at all, and make no effort to (they think other religions don't understand themselves as well as BKs do). He was all diplomacy, listened intently and seriously to the Gyan explanations as he was led around the "spiritual museum" of BK pictures, receiving his "inheritance" for next Kalpa and encouraging of the 'good points" of his hosts.

He was never asked once by anyone, including by the 50 or so foreign BKs there who had the opportunity of a Q&A session with him, to explain anything about the (Tibetan) Buddhist view of the world. All of them asked "leading questions", some to the point of badgering, trying to get him to validate the Gyan as a superior view. He was ever patient.

But as I wrote elsewhere, I saw him speak earlier this year and when discussing various "-isms", he said outright, to thousands of people "I am a secular Marxist", as well as expressing definite acknowledgement of injustices under the old Tibetan feudal society (a nod to Chinese arguments) and, in response to questions, that the next Dalai Lama may very well be a woman. (Already the political head of the Tibetan government in exile, after the Dalai lama relinquished that role, is not a lama at all). The man thinks, reads, debates, engages with science and politics thoughtfully ...

This is all written here not to show one is truer or superior, but to present the contrast of attitudes. I await the day we see the BKs eager to take the stage with Indian social justice or environmental activists or labour unions, for the sake of social justice, environment or labour rights, and not for their own self-promotion.

Re: Tea & Human Trafficking in India: 100,000 girls in Delhi

PostPosted: 25 Jul 2013
by ex-l
Thank you.

According to the International Labour Office report, 'InFocus Programme on Promoting the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work' at least 15 million Indian children are working under conditions of bondage. Artificially created poverty to benefit the upper casts is so great, the poorest people are forced to sell their children to pay them; men are even forced to prostitute their wives in order to pay off the debts they incurred to marry them. Artificial debts are created for landless peasants in order to tie them into bondage which their children will then inherit.

The Brahma Kumaris in the United Kingdom alone has amassed assets of £17,000,000, and cash reserves of £4,676,046 which have remained fairly stable over the last few years.

They run a charity which they claim has been set up to "relieve poverty, mental and physical sickness and distress".

How many individuals, never mind children, have they relieved from poverty, mental and physical sickness and distress?

The only people the Brahma Kumaris leaders have relieved from poverty were themselves from when they came to the UK with no money.

At the rate given above, the £4,676,046 sitting in their bank would have relieved (kept free) all the young girls enslaved in Dehli. *

Why do they have so many assets and so much sitting in their bank when they preach to their followers Destruction is coming any minute soon?

* Yes, I appreciate this is an oversimplified view or equation but it goes some way to illustrate the dishonesty and immoral indolence of the BKWSU in the West it came to reap from.