Female comic superhero takes on sex trafficking in India, Latest World News - The New Paper

Female comic superhero takes on sex trafficking in India

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MUMBAI: A female superhero will use her powers to fight sex crimes in India and the stigma that trafficking survivors face, in the third instalment of a comic series due to be released this week.

Priya, a rape survivor-turned-superhero who flies around on a tiger, fought her abusers and helped acid attack victims in the last two editions of the Priya's Shakti comic.

"Comics are hugely popular with teenagers and young adults. We wanted to reach teenagers because they are learning about sexuality, gender-roles and sexual violence," series creator and film-maker Ram Devineni told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an e-mail.

"More importantly, we have given voices and put attention on survivors of gender-based violence."

Thousands of people across India - largely poor, rural women and children - are lured to cities each year by traffickers who promise good jobs, but sell them into modern-day slavery.

In the new comic, which can be downloaded for free from today, Priya rescues sex trafficking victims and challenges the communities that refuse to accept them on their return home.


Priya's Shakti (Priya's Strength) was the first Indian comic book of its kind when first released in 2014, using augmented reality to tell the story of a young, rural woman who is gang-raped and then shamed by her family and community.

In her latest comic titled Priya And The Lost Girls, she returns to her village where she finds all the women, including her sister, missing. She then traces them to a brothel owned by a demon whom she must fight to rescue the women.

Although set in India, the story has global resonance, the creators said.

"People in First World countries think of sex trafficking as a Third World problem," the comic book's writer Dipti Mehta said.

"What they don't realise is, it happens in their own backyards. It is a global industry making a lot of money." - REUTERS