“Human Zoo” Video Depicts The Most Base Exploitation

Heather Callaghan
Activist Post

It doesn’t say much for humanity when people treat their fellow men and women like circus animals for amusement. Exploiting poor, unsuspecting primitives for personal laughs with (empty) promises of food is indescribable.

Stories have been written to thrill readers with accounts of hunting humans, staging games to the death, and capturing them for a living human collection. Perhaps the recent “human zoo” incident of the Indian Andaman Islands is a notch below, but more horrific for its reality.

An undated video showing nude Jarawa tribal women compelled to dance for food created waves upon its release from British paper, The Observer. In it, a tourist is filming the girls dancing for and begging for food. A police officer, bribed to allow the show, is repeatedly calling out to them and forcing them to dance. They dance tirelessly in anticipation for the food that never even gets to them in the video.

Caution – This hard-to-watch video contains nudity:

The Jarawa live a nomadic life in the Andaman tropical forests, with only 403 of them left. Currently, Indian laws are made to bar people from photographing or making contact with the ancient primitive tribes in order to protect their fading communities from disease and more. Apparently, police and locals don’t uphold those protections.

India’s Tribal Affairs Minister V. Kishore Chandra Deo is ordering an investigation to be headed by director-general of police, Samsher Deol.

The minister said, “It’s deplorable. You cannot treat human beings like beasts for the sake of money. Whatever kind of tourism is that, I totally disapprove of that and it is being banned also.”

Stephen Corry, director of Survival International, which aims to protect tribespeople worldwide added, “Quite clearly, some people’s attitudes towards tribal peoples haven’t moved on a jot. The Jarawa are not circus ponies bound to dance at anyone’s bidding.”

It’s possible that the video was from around six years ago, before stricter laws went into place. But, a journalist from The Observer reported being told recently by local tradesman how much one could bribe police to check out the Jarawa. The reporter witnessed tourists throwing bananas and biscuits to the tribespeople at the roadside.

Let’s hope the director-general of police is going to keep his promise launch an investigation to find out who the bribers and bribed were, even though he believes the video is old because the women are more clothed now.

This isn’t an isolated incident. Just last June, eight Indian travel companies were accused by Survival International of running “human safari tours,” allowing the Jarawa to be exploited by tourists. The fact that this video was leaked causes one to wonder how often this open human degradation occurs and if the dignity of poor tribespeople is ever protected at all. The group is calling for tourists to boycott the road that leads to the Jarawa tribe.

Threats of being called racist, hate-filled, or soulless create no shame in the folks who actually paid officers for this illegal “thrill.” It is a sad statement that laws actually need to be created to restrain humans from such deplorable behavior toward their fellow human tribe, but if there was ever a time for strict laws to be enforced, it is in cases like this where exploitation remains unchecked.


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