I come from a small, poor village in Bangladesh. I got married at a young age and gave birth to my beautiful daughter. Coming from a poor village, finding work was a challenge. In desperate need to earn an income in order to provide for my daughter, I had hopes of moving to a city where there were more job opportunities. One day a friend appealed to me with a job as a house maid in the big city of Mumbai. I was hopeful for new beginnings so I left my husband and took my 12 year old daughter to the city. Little did I know that I would be sold to a life of slavery in one of Mumbai's Red Light Districts. Since they were afraid to keep a minor girl in the area, the agent promised to keep her elsewhere in a good job.
I was kept like a slave - made to work hard every day, rising early, sleeping late, doing all the house work and entertaining customers. For months my brothel keeper forced me to work and I did not get paid. They beat me, raped me, and kept me from knowing where my daughter was. I missed my daughter and constantly worried about where she was. One day after a fight with another woman in my brothel, she revealed that she and my brothel keeper played a role in trafficking my daughter. I also heard she had been pregnant and aborted the baby. My 12 year old baby! I was horrified and sickened. Desperate for someone to help me I came to Purnata staff with my case. I didn't even have a picture of my daughter but I came in the hope that they could do something. Initially, they said it wouldn’t be possible but seeing my persistent tears and broken spirit, they agreed to help.
Purnata's follow-up story:
As Purnata looked into the case, we discovered that while Muskan was sold to a red light area, her daughter was kept in a house and exploited for sex. Sold countlessly to customers, she became pregnant and was forced to have abortions. Scared and alone, she was trafficked to Delhi.
In September 2018, part one of the investigation into the rescue of Muskan’s daughter began. Purnata staff along with a Mumbai police team from Bhandup, made a trip along with one of the accused who had turned into an informer to Delhi. He contacted his friend and from there, the rescue team was led in a series of events from one agent to another in a trafficking web that placed her daughter in Bareilly. The trail fell cold at Bareilly and so Purnata staff returned back.
In January 2019, the second phase of the rescue began, this time without the help of Mumbai police. Smart investigation led Purnata to the person who was holding the girl. The rescue team shared a story saying that the mother was about to die and needed desperately to speak with her daughter at least one more time before she dies. We met the Superintendent of Police, SP (Crime) and then SP (City) and got their full support on this case. They gave us access to the Cyber Surveillance Cell and also a crack team of Police Inspectors from the Bareilly police to assist us in the rescue..
We got a local sim card and started contacting all the phone numbers that were suspect. Looking at the cell location, we did several rescue attempts but unfortunately every time we ended up at tower locations. We then removed the call detail record and CAF of the two numbers expected to be where the child was kept. This helped us find the B Party common to both. The suspect lived in a town called Chandausi, 2 hours from there in another district. We were able to capture him with the help of the police there.
He turned out to be the brother of the lady who was holding on to the child with the help of her husband. That's when we realized we were on the lookout for a couple holding the child. Since we were holding her brother, the couple felt pressured and eventually released the child after playing a game of cat and mouse with us. The very next day we were able to apprehend the couple as well. A FIR against the couple helped lead to more names in a trafficking ring in this small town of Bareilly. About six of them have been arrested out of the eight accused.
Roshni was so scared and cold. She couldn't trust anyone. When we spoke Bengali with her, she felt reassured. We did a video call with her mother and her face lit up. She kept calling out “Ma”, and was so elated she couldn’t stop kissing the screen. Even while eating she was crying because no one had fed her decent food in the last few years. Her medical examination revealed her broken teeth, bruises all over her body, cigarette burns, fresh nail marks from a lady scratching her and beating her with a bamboo stick. She is a battered girl, a sixteen year old girl who looks like she is 26! She is on a long road to recovery, needing a lot of tender loving care, patience, and counselling.