This is a huge occupational hazard for us. First, let us talk about children.
(a) Vulnerable children are kidnapped from disaster hit areas by criminals involved in the human trafficking network.
(b) Sometimes, the parents are dead or lost.
(c) Sometimes, their families genuinely believe they are sending their children towards a better future.
(d) Tribals who have little knowledge of the wicked world beyond their forests often send their girls to the city for a better life.
These children are abused by pimps, clients and sometimes, their own families. The girls are forced to service several men each night, for nothing more than food and board. The trafficker pays off the kidnapper, police, goondas, and everyone else. All this money is added to the debt of the trafficked girl. Strange math, this!
Whenever we can, we do rescue these girls. If we hear on the grapevine of someone who is being forced into prostitution, or being trafficked, we do our best to get them out of the situation. If our efforts are unsuccessful, we even call the police for help. We believe that we are best positioned to help trafficked women and girls. With some relevant skills and training, we could get information from the networks, and rescue women and children who have been trafficked.
Sometimes, when we are working, we ourselves are in danger of being trafficked. And several of our Union members have been in such dangerous situations. But we have escaped as soon as possible.
A regular client asked me to bring a friend and go on a trip with him. I agreed. He came with his friend, and we visited many places by car, eventually landing in Bombay. There we found that he had sold us to a brothel. For some days, we fought, we refused to accept clients. We were beaten badly. Eventually, we gave in. We lived in hell for a few days. Our clothes were taken away to ensure we could not run away. We had to wear an underskirt and blouse, without a sari. We begged often, but none of the clients would help us. One day, a trafficked girl lent us her clothes. We stole the key to the gate and made a quick exit. With some help from an auto driver, we managed to catch a train and return home. We only came back because we were older women, we had travelled around a bit, knew several languages, and could find our way around. Can you imagine what a 14-year-old girl in such a position could do?