International child sex trade activist visits Louisville

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by Claudia Coffey

WHAS11.com

Posted on May 24, 2013 at 5:03 PM

Updated Saturday, May 25 at 12:35 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – It’s a topic that’s never easy to talk about but it’s an issue gaining global concern – children as young as a day old being sold into the child sex trade.

The issue gained international attention when the works of a woman in India to save these children was featured in the documentary, Half the Sky.

Girls as young as 10 discuss the dark side of life and reflect on being sold as child prostitutes in India.

For the past 13 years, Urmi Basu has fought to save them. Basu traveled to Louisville to educate leaders of a growing problem not isolated to India.

“These kids need to play outside. They need to go to school, be happy and hope for a different future,” Basu, founder of New Light Charities said.

Basu was brought to town by Mercy graduate and local volunteer Jennifer Salsman, who just returned from India volunteering with Basu’s group.

“I just feel in love with the children. They are wonderful, friendly, speak English and love Justin Bieber just like children here,” Salsman said.

The women are meeting with local and state leaders and holding fundraisers.

Basu has set up shelters and schools for more than 200 girls that her group saved from deplorable conditions.

“It can happen to a girl that's 10, 11, and 12. They would not really be sold as sex slaves but they would be sent off to work with brothel owners as young maids and house help but eventually will become a prostitute then they are held captive," Basu said.

Salsman hopes her visit will open people's eyes to a problem that can happen anywhere.

“They need to hear Urmi's message and have someone tell them it's not just an India problem but a Louisville problem," she said.

Salsman will return to India next week and Basu is wrapping up her U-S tour in June.

There is a fundraiser open to the public tomorrow. For more information on how to help go to www.newlightindia.org

The Saturday fundraiser is at 13908 River Glen Lane in Prospect at 6:30 p.m.


 

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