Bengaluru, Aug 11: Well-known Bengaluru-based author Anita Nair's latest book-Chain of Custody-part of her crime fiction series featuring Inspector Borei Gowda-is earning rave reviews from both critics and book lovers.
Unlike, her previous novel, Alphabet Soup for Lovers-a love story, this new book looks into the murky world of child trafficking and bonded labour. In an exclusive interview with OneIndia, the author talks about the inspiration behind the fast-paced crime fiction and why the whole system and society are responsible for the prevalence of child trafficking.
What prompted you to delve into the murky world of child trafficking in your latest detective novel, Chain of Custody?
Anita Nair: Social commentary is best made through the genre of crime writing, and hence, I made the decision to write about child trafficking through the crime fiction series I had started. I have always felt anger and dissatisfaction at many aspects of society that we choose to look away from.
Be it trafficking of children and women or harassment of the LGBTQ community, and with crime fiction, I found a platform that allowed me to express this dissatisfaction without sounding shrill.
With several child-friendly laws-including the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000-in place, what lacunae do the system face to provide adequate safety measures to vulnerable children?
Anita Nair: While there are laws to protect children, the bureaucracy as well as corruption at various levels--be it within the executive or judiciary--make it difficult to implement these laws. Child trafficking is such an organised crime that they know exactly how to manipulate the loopholes as well as use poverty to lure children from their parents into the racket.
Please share with us some real-life instances related to victims of child trafficking, which you found out during your research work for the book...
Anita Nair: The story of Tina in Chain of Custody is based on a real-life account I was privy to and it shattered me. I was in contact with policemen, shelters and social workers, but nothing could prepare me for the story this little girl had to tell.
What are the various angles of child trafficking that you have highlighted in the book?
Anita Nair: The two areas I have dwelled into are bonded labour and trafficking for sex. I have also tried to bring in all the complexities involved--the impossible job of tracking down the traffickers by dedicated policemen, the corruption within, the rehabilitation of the children and the flaws in the very system.
Who do you think is to be blamed for the plight of these children-poverty, the political system or society in general?
Anita Nair: All three have a role to play. And the degrees differ on a child-to-child basis.
Is there a way to reduce cases of crime against children?
Anita Nair: Awareness. Both the parent and the child have to be educated about the various ways this can happen. I am trying not to sound like a fear monger, but a constant vigil has to be kept. In some cases, the child is kidnapped and in others the parents themselves sell their children into slavery.
Since your book is based on Bengaluru and your research work mostly covered the dark world of child trafficking in the city, did you ever feel Bengaluru is an unsafe place for children?
Anita Nair: Not more so than any other metropolitan city. This is a universal issue, it concerns everyone.
Finally, what is the secret behind Anita Nair's oeuvre--from drama, romance to detective novels? What is your next book about?
Anita Nair: The most joyful thing I do in my life is to write. My writing defines me and my existence. However, to keep it fresh and exciting and probably because I am interested in many things, my oeuvre too expands. My next work is going to be a children's novel, with elaborate illustrations combining animals and Islamic lore.