Nandita Puri: Child trafficking is a global issue

Arundhuti Banerjee-


Nandita Puri, author and wife of the late actor Om Puri, is gearing up for her fourth book, “Jennifer”, a real-life account of a girl who is a victim of intercountry child trafficking. She says addressing the issue through her writing was important for her, as child trafficking is a global issue.

Nandita was present in an interactive session at the LIFFT India Filmostsav 2019 that has started from December 12 and will continue till December 16.

The book is supported by Against Child Trafficking (ACT), an NGO based out of Brussels and working on the issue of intercountry child adoption, explaining the intensity of the matter.

“Although it has been mentioned in the UN resolution of child adoption that it should happen locally. For instance, If there is a child ready for adoption in the southern part of India, the child should find a household in the South. Likewise, you cannot send a Kashmiri child to a Tamil household, because things such as physical features will make the adopted child look as if he is not a part of the family,” said Puri.

She also mentioned that after going through several reports and extensive research work, as part of writing the book, she came across “mostly those children who are sent out for adoption to different countries never get a house and a proper family for adoption. Mostly they are exploited as sex slave and fall prey to the sex organ trade, get into drug abuse, or get trained for Jihad, among other wrong reasons. Child trafficking is a burning topic globally.”

However, she said the book is not a social calling but an effort of a writer who was encouraged by her friends and publishers to write a book on Jennifer, and once she started to know the personality, she realised how fascinating her life journey was — from intercountry adoption, becoming a drug addict, a drug hustler to living in prisons for getting involved in such activities.

The book will be published in February.

“There were several moments when I felt like giving up on writing that book because Jennifer has mood swings and other issues, and she is certainly not a very happy and pleasant person to have a conversation with. For most of her life, she has stayed in prisons in America as she was a drug hassler. She herself is into drugs, so she is not always in her elements. One day, she would tell me, ‘you are bloody bogus woman’ and the next day she would say that I am the nicest human being she has ever come across! It was tough for me to handle,” shared Nandita.

Over time, the author started understanding the dark phases Jennifer has gone through and both the women felt connected at a human level.

Recalling their first meeting, Nandita said: “She said, ‘hey, I wanna buzz!’ I really did not understand that slang, so I called her lawyer and try to understand what it means. Then I am told that she needs some drinks so that she can open up. I poured her a peg and after the first sip, she said, ‘it’s cheap but works!’ Then she opened up slowly about her fascinating journey.”

The LIFFT (Literature, Illusion, Film Frame TV & Theatre) India Filmostsav 2019 will present over 250 films in various categories from 40 countries and open to public till December 16 in Lonavala, Maharashtra.

There will be conversation sessions with many international filmmakers and actors at LIFFT India, which is founded by Riju Bajaj and will take place at Fariyas Resort.