A 22-year-old who was kidnapped outside her home ten years ago and sold into India’s trafficking industry has spoken of her devastating ordeal. The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was finally reunited with her mother last week after she had spent ten years dreaming of returning home. Thanks to a girl she met by chance, the victim was able to reach Delhi, and after she remembered the location of her home, she was finally reunited with her mother and sisters after a decade.
She said: “I have lost my childhood. I was just 12 when I was kidnapped outside my home and the moment I saw my family after returning, I realized how much I had missed out on. “I am so happy to be home but I am still grieving for the life I have lost.”
She was playing outside her home in Seelampur, in Delhi, India’s capital city, when a lady started talking to her on July 2, 2006. “I clearly remember what I was wearing. I was dressed in a grey frock and pink flip-flops that day,’ she said. “I was walking towards my sister’s place when a lady got out of a white car and started talking to me. Before I could even do anything, another man stepped out of the car and dragged me holding a cloth over my face, and I fell unconscious.”
Her mother and father started looking for her when she never arrived at her sister’s house. Her 55-year-old mother said: “I immediately thought the worst and searched for her at hospitals, police stations and temples wondering if someone left her there to beg or something. “I also posted posters with her photo at different places but that did not help either.”
Eventually, the distraught mother and father reported her missing with the police and filed a First Information Report (FIR). The victim remembers every step of her ordeal and recalls being sold to a farmer for £300.
“When I finally woke up the first thing I remember is that I was locked inside a room with around 20 others including young girls and small children. “I panicked and screamed for help. Everyone was crying,” she remembered. “The man who dragged me into the car slapped me and told me to be quiet. “I begged to be sent back home. Then a man took me and said he was taking me home. “I went on a train with him, believing I was going home but he took me to his farm and made me work.”
At just 12-years-old, she was forced to work all day in the fields, load heavy sacks of grain onto her back and onto trucks , and then at night she was raped by numerous men. In 2009 when she was just 15-years-old, she was forced to marry a 50-year-old truck driver in a village in Punjab, northern India.
“I was still a child at 15 but I was forced me to marry an alcoholic and a drug addict in Punjab,” she said. “I had two children with him but he died in 2011. “My in-laws then started to torture me. They used to beat me and my brother-in-law and his friends raped me on several occasions. “In the end my sister-in-law took my children to live with her without my permission and they chucked me out onto the streets.” With no money she eventually lived on the streets.
“I was lost. I was desperate to get home but I had no way of getting home. “I got another job as a cleaner that came with a small room but the money wasn’t enough. I sometimes begged and sometimes I slept on the streets,’ she said. “When a man offered me work in Siliguri in West Bengal, I went. “But I was sold again, to a dance bar. There I met a Delhi-based girl and I opened up to her. “I told her my story and she said she’d help me get home.”
The girl helped the victim catch a train and accompanied her all the way from West Bengal to Delhi. The victim now wants justice and hopes to stop any other family suffering as they have.