A state in India has recruited the trans community to help protect women and girls living in care homes.
The drastic move came after widespread reports of sexual assaults occurring at the care homes in Bihar.
A shocking audit of 100 care homes conducted in the first quarter of this year revealed a high amount of abuse.
Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) conducted the research which found high levels of physical violence and sexual abuse was occurring in the homes.
TISS handed its findings to the state government at the end of May. Along with moving girls in immediate danger to other parts of the state, it has also decided to hire local hijras to act as body guards. In India, hijra refers to trans and intersex people.
‘The recent incidents of rapes at short stay homes have shocked us,’ welfare department secretary, Atul Prasad told The Guardian.
‘So we have planned to employ eunuchs as guards there.
‘While on the one hand, the eunuchs will get employment, on the other hand their deployment will strengthen security at short stay homes for girls.’
A win-win situation
Local hijras agreed that the new venture will have dual benefits for the women staying in the homes and the wider trans community.
‘Apart from providing us employment, the new job will also give us social recognition,’ Anita Hijra told the Guardian.
‘This could be a small initiative but will bring huge change in the society in the long run. We are very happy.’
The new initiative comes as the world’s attention focuses on India’s alarming rates of rape.
According to a poll conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation last month – India is the world’s most dangerous country for women. That is due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labour.
Crime against women rose 83% between 2007 and 2016 according to government data. In 2016, there were four cases of rape reported every hour.