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“I was only 12 when I came with my mother across from a small town in Bangladesh to India. We halted in Kolkata for a few days and then to Mumbai. In Mumbai, we were shifted around a lot until my mother was sold in one of the Red Light Areas. I was kept in a house in Mumbra, where I was raped, and forcefully made to abort my baby by beating me and using pills. They finally couldn’t manage me so they took me to Delhi. I didn’t know the language, knew nobody, was separated from my Mum and all alone. They sold me to one lady. In the span of 2-3 years, I was sold several times to 3-4 ladies and finally landed up in Bareilly.

I was made to service 10-15 customers daily, beaten when I didn’t comply and often given a good beating and left hungry. It was four years and I had lost all hope. Four years later, since I separated from my mother, I had a glimmer of hope when the couple who controlled me decided to get rid of me. I didn’t understand why. He literally threw me on the streets and ran. Another man came and picked me up and took me on his bike. I was scared but he reassured me that he is a policeman and took me to the police station. There, soon I met two bhaiyas and didi who came and tried to reassure me. The bhaiya spoke in Bengali with me and I felt nice that I heard my mother tongue four years for the first time. Another first time was when he did a video call with (guess who) my mother. My face lit up with joy and called out, “Ma”. Then I got to know that my trafficker couldn’t manage the pressure and heat being put on them through the rescue operation Purnata was doing and that’s why he let me go.

Purnata did a rescue operation that stretched over a year, made two trips to Delhi & Bareilly, followed up with all branches of police that were necessary, and spent a few weeks of tireless days and sleepless nights, spending a couple of lakhs of rupees just to find me. Not only was I rescued but the perpetrators (four of them) were arrested and in jail still.

It's been four years since that joyful day. Purnata kept me in the Govt shelter home, followed up with me regularly, took me for outings, kept me in their safe home with my mother, taught and trained me, gave me medical and psychiatric treatment, and provided a Bengali counselor. The trauma I went through left deep scars in my life leading to behavior that made it difficult for others around me. In spite of that, Purnata provided plenty of tender loving care.

Over four years I have experienced a good amount of healing but yet memories and pain still exist. I still don’t understand why all this had to happen to me but am trying to make sense of it all. Purnata arranged with the help of the Govt officials for my repatriation. Today I'm back home with my Dad and sister waiting for my Mum to also join us.”

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