From 26 June 2015 – 24 April 2016
A powerful new exhibition looking specifically at the modern slavery and human trafficking of Dalits in India.
The word ‘Dalit’ means broken, crushed or oppressed.
Dalits were known formerly in India as ‘Untouchables’, because many avoided physical contact with them for fear of tainting their own religious purity or social superiority. Although Untouchability was outlawed by the Indian constitution, the practice still persists in some parts of the country today.
Revealing the Dalits’ stories of hardship, survival and hope for broken lives mended, the exhibition includes moving photography, film and case studies. Importantly, visitors find out how to make a difference.
Upon arrival, visitors will be able to learn about the lives of Dalit people through three different displays within the exhibition:
- The brick kiln – to see how poverty, illness and natural disasters can lead to debt slavery. One of the case studies features 14 year old Selva, forced to work as a ‘loader’ in a food market as payment for his parent’s loan. After four years, he managed to escape by hiding in a toilet on a train. This section also features Oscar-nominated short film ‘Kavi’, a fictional account of child bonded labour in India, which reflects reality for hundreds of thousands of children in the country.
- The cotton mills – to see how women and young girls are exploited in the garment industry to produce clothes destined for sale in the UK and the rest of Europe.
- The dedication ceremony – to discover how and why some Dalit girls are forced into a lifetime of ritual sex slavery and abuse. Visitors can learn about seven year old Jayamma who, as a Jogini, had to make herself available for sex with any man that approached her on reaching puberty. By 13 she was pregnant and, in her twenties, became ill and received tests and treatment with the help of the Dalit Freedom Network for HIV.
The exhibition has been developed in partnership with the Dalit Freedom Network, who work to prevent the human trafficking and modern slavery of Dalits and others from poor and marginalised communities through education, healthcare and economic empowerment.
For more details: www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/