Bollywood actress Shabana Azmi on Tuesday emphasized on the need for a stronger political will to check human trafficking along the porous borders in South Asia.
Shabana is in Nepal as the SAARC Goodwill Amabassador for Uniting against HIV/AIDS and TB and launched her mission on Tuesday in Kathmandu.
“It (HIV/AIDS) does not respect national boundaries and the porous borders show how susceptible we all are,” she said, adding that it is high time that the countries in South Asia should fight challenge in cooperation.
As the SAARC Goodwill Ambassador, Shabana met Nepal’s Health Minister Giriraj Pokhrel on Tuesday morning and is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Prachanda on Wednesday.
Poverty has been forcing a large-scale human trafficking in South Asia, and there are reports that a large number of young and illiterate girls from Nepal are always being lured to the brothels in Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi.
“As member of parliament, we have also been doing a lot of work at national level to check human trafficking,” Shabana said.
The Bollywood actress, who has been campaigning against the social stigma related to HIV/AIDS for more than 18 years in India, said there should be more advocacies to check the human trafficking issue at the regional level.
“It (human trafficking) is an extremely difficult subject to handle and the SAARC nations should try and plan proper strategies to tackle it,” she said, adding that her role is limited to creating awareness and not designing strategies.
“I feel fully committed in my cause,” she said, adding, “My responsibility is to let people understand that the victims need love and care of the society”.
Shabana said mainstream people still think people with HIV/AIDS deserve to die because they are immoral. “People still believe AIDS is a product of western culture and only truck drivers and prostitutes have AIDS. It is unjust, unfair and untrue,” she said.
The rise of HIV/AIDS is also related to sexual discrimination and lack of empowerment for women, Shabana said.