Art & Entertainment

Somy Ali On World AIDS Day: It Rips My Heart Into Pieces To See Children As Young As 16 Or 17 End Up With The HIV Virus

As people from across the globe commemorate World AIDS Day in order to create awareness around the HIV virus, actress turned humanitarian Somy Ali opens up about the importance of this day. She also gives out details about how her NGO works with the victims to help them lead a normal life.

Somy Ali
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December 1 is World AIDS Day. The idea behind the day is to create awareness around the HIV infection that led to the AIDS pandemic. Actress turned humanitarian Somy Ali, who runs the NGO No More Tears, talks about the importance of the day and how her NGO has also worked with the victims.

“Unfortunately, we have had several human trafficking victims that are HIV positive or have full-blown AIDS,” says Somy Ali. “Majority of our HIV/AIDS cases come from the human trafficking world because the people the victims are being sold to think of contraception rarely. It’s traumatic and heinous enough to be forced to sell them into sex trafficking and then on top of that get infected with a sexually transmitted disease which is literally destroying their lives. However bad it is, our job is to provide them with free access to appropriate medication as we are partners with several clinics who help AIDS patients for free,” she adds.

More than 35 million people have died because of AIDS-related illnesses over the past 40 years. “Our nonprofit has been around for 16 years and I have taken on over 2,0000 HIV or AIDS-related cases. We have to tap into the root of the problem. This is a typical supply and demand issue because with human trafficking we are dealing with the largest growing criminal enterprise in the world which has now surpassed the drug trade industry as well. Simply because you can use cocaine once, but you can reuse human beings again and again, be it a child, woman or a man,” she adds.

Ask if AIDS awareness campaigns work and Somy is quick to reply, “Sometimes they do and in some countries areas and I would even say that this is contingent upon how educated a person is about sexually transmitted diseases. Here I do not mean the ones that are forced in that world by pimps/traffickers, but a layperson would have the basic knowledge that he/she should not engage in unprotected sex. It rips my heart into pieces to see children as young as 16 or 17 end up with the HIV virus because they were sold by traffickers repeatedly.”

She goes on to add, “We must go after the demand and while we are doing something higher up with the law enforcement, it’s simply not enough. Like any issue it needs to be destigmatised and stricter laws need to be in place. Arresting the victims forced into the sex world and deeming them as prostitutes while the pimps/traffickers get away scot-free is no way of solving the issue.”

Talking about the constant debate on legalising prostitution, Somy Ali opines, “In my opinion prostitution should be decriminalized as that’s step one in trying to bring forth any kind of progression and help eradicate the statistics on this disease. Let’s not forget that prostitution has been and always will be the oldest profession since evolution, thus change has to come by chasing the perpetrators, not the victims.”

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