Editor’s Note: “Jayanth” has agreed to tell her story to bring awareness to the plight of girls in India. She also hopes it will inspire others to help rescue those who are enslaved. The following are excerpts from what she told her rescuers at the Indian Rescue Mission who work in conjunction with and are partially supported by Operation Underground Railroad.
Namaste. My name is Jayanth (not her real name). I come from a small village in Maharastra State in India. In 2002 my family got me married to a person when I was just 12 years old. My husband was a driver and I lived with him for five years. I had not had children so he married another girl but that relationship did not last long.
He came back to me, but during that time he got angry hearing a rumor that I had an illegal relationship with someone in the village, which was not true. Hearing this, my husband beat me and the doctors told me I cannot bear children anymore because of the beating.
After this incident, he contacted an agent in New Delhi. My husband told me I would be working in a beauty parlor there and earning a living. After two days of travel, we reached New Delhi around two in the morning. I slept that night and when I got up in the morning my husband was not there.
In this place, I saw many young girls and heard voices of small children crying. I asked the lady where my husband is. She did not reply. I found that my husband had taken my cell phone, sim cards and all documents. He left me without anything.
Many male members started coming to this house and I asked the lady, “What is happening here?” She did not reply anything back but instead told me to rest. The next day the lady gave me a bath and gave me good food and asked me to wear short dresses. Then she told me to sit in the front hall. A customer paid money for me and the lady in charge told me that I should sleep with him. But I questioned her asking, “What is happening here?” I told her, “I can do no such thing being a married girl.”
Once anyone enters this place, it is very difficult to get out of here. I denied going with the customers and on one occasion shouted at the customer. He in turn went and complained to the lady in charge. She then beat me mercilessly. Here the girls cannot choose their own ways. They have to obey. Each girl has to attend to at least 20 customers a day and the brothel owner will give you two meals.
I made a friend with another girl from my state and told her I do not want to live. I want to commit suicide. She told me that my husband sold me for US $1500 to the brothel owner, but I told her I trust my husband and he would not do such a thing. Then I told the lady in charge that I want to meet my husband.
She spoke to my husband and complained that I was not cooperating. He told her to do whatever she wants with me. I started to cry asking how could he cheat his own wife this way? I was made to live this way for a year with beatings and no going out.
Then one day the lady sold me for the same price, US $1500. On my way to the new brothel, I managed to escape. I went to my village but the sad part is that none of my family would take me in. Then I contacted my husband and started to live with him again but after three months he wanted me to work as a prostitute. He said,
If you want to have a stomach full of food then you have to do this.
Then he sold me in another city.
I went to the police station in this city and told them everything that had happened to me. The police called the brothel owner and had a personal meeting with them. The police then told me I must go back to the brothel; that if I was free on the streets someone else would just sell me.
Because I complained to the police the brothel owner beat me so much that I could not get up for a month. I spent three years there. Three years of slavery and no freedom. They forced me to make naked videos. They started sending me to the hotel room along with customers. I was sold again with no way out. But, after a few days, James and his team from the Indian Rescue Mission helped me to get out and arranged a place for me to stay. Then I decided I should stay strong. Now I am happy after being rescued.
Interviewer: Inside the brothel, have you ever felt that someone would come to help you?
Girl: Many times I thought and hoped that I will be rescued. Many customers used to tell us that “we will get you out” but no one helped.
Interviewer. What do you want to do for your future?
Girl: By the help of James and the Indian Rescue Mission I am now learning to stitch clothes and am planning to go take a Fashion Designing course. (IRM is receiving on-going support from O.U.R. to help with recovery)
Interviewer: You said you want to become a fashion designer. What do you want to do for society?
Girl: I will offer help for many girls who are held in prostitution against their will.
Interviewer: An incident happened in your life in such a way that you cannot forget?
Girl: In such an incident I think of my husband. I cannot forget the fact that he sold me. I cannot forgive him. I have desired to live a good life with my husband, a good dream of a family. I desired so much. But he broke all my dreams and now they are shattered.
When I had money, everyone comes to me, but when I don’t have anything nobody cares. Now I live a very good life. I don’t have much money but I am content and happy with what I have.
To help girls like Jayanth please consider becoming an Abolitionist. For just $5 a month you can support O.U.R. in the rescue and recovery of enslaved children. Sign up at OUR Join the Cause.
Edited by: Cheryl L. Karr