Reading this article is so utterly upsetting and discouraging: Raiding a Brothel in India.
It just makes me crazy, it seems so hopeless to even begin to tackle the problem of human trafficking, particularly in developing countries. It is accepted on so many levels in some of these cultures that overcoming it will require enormous attitude and behavioral changes - on all levels. Otherwise, it will be gradual, painfully slow, endlessly hopeless, like attempting to move a towering mountain range by etching away at it with a tiny shovel.
Often I regret studying public health and wish I had studied public policy. Changes in policy, in local government law and the enforcement thereof, as Kristoff refers to, can often make a difference, even in the overwhelming issue of human trafficking. But, I believe that a change in public policy regarding human trafficking must be combined with grass roots efforts, efforts often attached to the dealings of public health professionals. The change will need to come from the bottom up, from individuals in families that form the societies and accept or reject the cultural norms. This will require not only top-down reform in public policy, but widespread education at the grass roots level, aimed directly at individuals.
Even so, the point Kristoff seems to be making in the article is that these five girls' lives were changed. And really, that is a lot.
It is huge.