Updated: Apr 8
I come from a small village in West Bengal. I was four years old when my older sister was offered a job by a neighbor. My mother thought that it would be a good opportunity to help the family. Without knowing, my mother trusted her friend and sent my sister to Mumbai due to financial struggles.
After so many years there was no news from my sister. My mother decided to take me and travel to Mumbai in hopes to find my sister. As my mother searched she found work doing jobs in construction, and eventually found her way into a red light area. We stayed in the red light area, and still had hopes to find my older sister. One day my mother shared her story and a photo with a customer who recognized the girl. My mom soon realized my sister was working in a red light area as well. After meeting, my mom convinced her to come and work with her. Soon after I was sent back to my village to stay with my father. We managed with whatever my father provided though it was not enough to provide the needs of the family.
At the age of 12, I asked one of my friends to look for a job for me. I willingly left with my friend, and ended up staying with my friends family for a month. The family, without my knowledge, arranged my marriage with a much older guy. All I wanted to do was go out and play, and go around with friends. The family forced me to wear sarees and be at home doing housework. I never wanted to stay there. I always wondered when I would go back to my home and meet my dad and enjoy childhood.
After a year of marriage I got pregnant and delivered a baby girl. This changed my way of thinking. I thought I had nowhere to go but my husband and his family were financially stable so my daughter and I stayed.
It wasn't long until my mother found me and convinced me to come stay in Mumbai with her. My baby and I went and stayed with my mother in a brothel. I remember being shocked when my mother asked me to attend customers, and then she wouldn't give me any money.
After a dispute with my mother, this led me to move into another brothel with my daughter. I met a customer whom I fell in love with. I soon became pregnant with my second child from him. Things were fine, and I was happy until I heard the news. During my pregnancy my boyfriend had visited his home village and got married to another woman. I was heartbroken, but I wanted him in my life for our child. He never promised her that he would marry me. I had hopes that he would agree to stay with me, but his wife didn't agree to it.
I felt hopeless and depressed, but I eventually decided to leave him in hopes to find a better life. After having my third child, I soon started to feel embarrassed to attend customers before my children. I soon left the red light area with the help of a partner NGO who referred me to Purnata. I am now undergoing training at Purnata. My two daughters currently stay in the red light area, and my son lives with me. I plan to give my son for Foster Care till I'm able to get back on my feet. One day I have dream of living in a home, with all my children together. Everyday I take steps closer to achieving my dreams, and slowly but surely I am getting there.