Mumbai: Former sex worker sends rakhi to PM Narendra Modi

Aug 14, 2017, 08:42 IST | Suraj Ojha

All she wanted in return was for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to protect other girls still trapped in the flesh trade

MSCW chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar ties the rakhi on PM Modi's wrist
MSCW chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar ties the rakhi on PM Modi's wrist

Forced into prostitution for six "hellish" years before she was rescued, this 29-year-old sent a rakhi to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking for just one gift in return - that he protect others girls still trapped in the flesh trade. Like an ideal brother, the PM has assured he will look into the matter.

Sold by fiance
In her two-page letter to Modi, the survivor narrated how she was trafficked from Kolkata and sold to a Mumbai brothel. She told mid-day, "My parents died when I was just 5 years old. I lived with my relatives and would do house work to earn money. I met a boy who proposed marriage. Since I was alone, I agreed. He brought me to Mumbai and took me to Kamathipura. He said I would get a good job there, and he sold me for Rs 60,000," she recalled.

Also read: India celebrates Raksha Bandhan, 103-year old woman ties rakhi to PM

Rescued in 2011, the survivor now has a job and a home on rent in Mumbai
Rescued in 2011, the survivor now has a job and a home on rent in Mumbai

She added, "I tried to follow him out, but two people grabbed me and told me that I would have to work for them until my debt was paid off. But I was not ready to obey them, so they beat me up regularly and treated me worse than an animal. I was tied up in a dark room for a week, without sunlight or food. Eventually, I gave up and did what they said."

Never gave up
She never gave up hope. Every client she had, she would ask for help. Finally, in 2011, one of her customers tipped off the police and an NGO, and she and two other women were rescued. The survivor has since started a new life, with a job in Mumbai and a home on rent. She was also recently felicitated by the Maharashtra State Commission for Women (MSCW) at an international women's trafficking seminar, for setting an example for other commercial sex workers (CSW).

Also read: Widows from Vrindavan, students tie PM Narendra Modi rakhi in Delhi

MSCW chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar said, "She gave me a rakhi and letter for the PM, and asked me to tie the rakhi on his wrist and urge him to help others who are still trapped."

Rahatkar met the PM in New Delhi on Raksha Bandhan and tied the survivor's rakhi on his wrist, passing on her request as well.


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Rescue efforts
>> Training for hotel waiters to identify any woman or minor under duress
>> Creating an app, ‘Rescue Me’, which will connect to the police
>> Sushma Swaraj, Minister for External Affairs, to visit Mumbai to meet airports authority, passport department, and immigration department, to discuss human trafficking

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