• Story of hope: Trafficking survivors set up a shop to sustain themselves

    There are so many stigmas attached to human trafficking that more often than not, it’s extremely difficult for survivors to go back to leading life with some form of normalcy. So it is heartening when one hears stories about women who have managed to start afresh. A recent report by BBC brought to light the story of  two women who were trafficked from a village in the Eastern part of the country, but then returned to open a grocery store.

    Married at a very young age, Anisa (Name changed) was trafficked by her own husband. She was only 16 then. “I was very angry with my husband. I wanted to take him to courts. But I had no money and my family did not support me,” said Anisa to BBC. She teamed up with an NGO to file a case against her husband and also opened a shop with the help of the same NGO. Anisa’s village and family have no idea that she was trafficked. They taunt her for leaving her husband’s home and returning to her parent’s home. This in spite of the fact that she is now financially independent.

    Also read: Punish the customer, not the women: Activist Ruchira Gupta on human trafficking laws in India

    In another village, Vasudha (name changed) was tricked into sexual slavery on the premise of a job. She was sedated and sent off to a place 2000km away from her village. Vasudha was kept in a brothel and beaten everyday for resisting the sexual slavery. “But I had to give in, finally.” She worked there for a year when one day with the help of the brothel guard, she escaped.

    After coming back to her place, she realised that everyone knew about what she had gone thorough, because of which she was looked upon as a ‘fallen woman’. People would hesitate to talk to her. Not giving up, she set up a mobile phone sim shop, which gave her a second chance at life, and gradually some acceptance in her village.

    Also read: Treat survivors like victims not criminals: Proposed anti-trafficking law

    The government is in the process of drafting a bill to protect the rights of people who are trafficked into slavery. But what we really need is sensitization and awareness in  society and for people to accept them. Until that happens survivors will continue to face challenges in everyday life as they struggle to get back on their feet.

    Feature Image Credit: Betheanswer.com

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