Related News: Author Anne Ostby Publishes Novel on Indian Sex Trafficking

TOWN OF LOVE
A NOVEL by Anne Ch. Ostby
Publisher: Schibsted, Norway
Publication date: January 9, 2012 It’s called the Town of Love, but the name of this dusty shantytown is a heartbreakingly ironic one: The young girls displayed in the doorways here, heavily made up and dressed in gaudily sequined saris, have seen very little love in their lives. They are girls of the Nat caste, born and bred to prostitution like their mothers and grandmothers before them, pimped by their own husbands, brothers, or fathers. In this poor community, the red-light outskirts of the town of Forbesganj in northern India, this is the fate that awaits so many of the girl children: to be the breadwinner of the family by selling her body. In a caste-conscious Indian society which shows nothing but contempt for them, the Nat women are trapped in a seemingly inescapable flesh-trade-dynasty. So who would dare to try to break free from it, and risk exclusion from her own kin as well? Tamanna does. Tamanna, who at 19 flees from the blue house of Jabbar-with-the-knife. She gets away, but has to leave her five-year-old daughter Rupa behind. Now, a few years later, she knows that Rupa will very soon be considered old enough to start earning. So she demands help – immediately – from Pukaar, the anti-trafficking organization which has spent years establishing a fragile connection to the women in the Town of Love. The Pukaar people know that staging a rescue operation to save just this one girl could jeopardize everything they’ve worked for. But who is entitled to tell a mother that her daughter’s not worth risking it all for? In this eye-opening story from a contemporary India unknown to most, Norwegian writer Anne Ch. Ostby explores the complex structures and traditions behind this family-run industry. Town of Love is a dark and gripping tale, filled  with compassion, humor and warmth that will leave no reader unmarked. An afterword by world-renowned anti-trafficking activist Ruchira Gupta (Emmy Award 1997, UK Abolitionist Award 2007, Clinton Global Citizen Award 2009, Amazing Indian Award 2012) comments on the background of the book and how it connects to the global fight against modern slavery.