The Oxford India Society will be playing a key role in raising awareness and highlighting the dangers and increase in human trafficking from countries like India, with the charity screening of the award-winning film Lakshmi at Merton College on Sunday 2nd February 2015, hosted by Dr Faisal Devji, Director of the Asian Studies Centre, St. Antony’s College, University Of Oxford.
Organised in support of Oxfam and The Asian Circle, the charity screening will be followed by an open discussion and Q&A session chaired by Oxford alumnus Bidisha SK Mamata, a broadcaster and journalist specialising in international affairs, social justice issues, arts and culture and international human rights.
Lakshmi, which was screened at the Tongues on Fire London Asian Film Festival 2014, is the story of a beautiful 14 year old girl whose life takes a tragic turn. She is snatched from her family in the village and sold to a brothel in the city. Lakshmi is thrown into this horrific, inhumane world run by the ruthless Reddy brothers. Quietly rebellious, Lakshmi’s efforts to escape result in her being brutally beaten. She manages to survive her hellacious predicament with the help of the other girls and her own will to never give in. Finally she is rescued in a sting operation by a government organisation. Against all odds, the traumatized and broken child-woman shows courage where everybody else fails. Resisting all pressure – violent threats, coercion and bribes, she stands up in court and in a historic landmark case succeeds in putting the traffickers behind bars. Based on true events, Lakshmi is a story of heroism and untold courage.
The Asian Circle is a network of UK based Asian Women with a passion to support vulnerable women in India and South Asia by building awareness of their plight and through fund-raising. As its first project, The Asian Circle is working in partnership with Oxfam to provide tribal women in north-east India, Chattisgarh and Odisha, with support to help set-up women’s support centres in police stations and to provide counselling, legal and medical aid.
Anjul Khadria, President of the Oxford India Society commented on the screening: “Lakshmi is a highly emotive film, which I hope will initiate debate about the shocking statistics around trafficking. As an organisation that has been created to celebrate Indian culture, we felt it our responsibility to also highlight the not so desirable aspects of our society and culture. But through this, we hope that we can take some positive action to support the great work that both Oxfam and The Asian Circle are doing.”
Santosh Bhanot, chair of the Asian Circle says of the support provided by OIS: “Our aim at the Asian Circle is to build awareness, promote and raise funds for the work we are supporting in South Asia on violence against women working with Oxfam. Through the support of organisations like the OIS and events such as the screening, we want to initiate debate and discussion and also inspire new supporters to join the Asian Circle and support Oxfam’s work with women in South Asia.”