Experts estimate millions of women and children are victims of sex trafficking in India. Traffickers use false promises of employment or arrange sham marriages in India or Gulf States and subject women and girls to sex trafficking. In addition to traditional red light districts, women and children increasingly endure sex trafficking in small hotels, vehicles, huts, and private residences. Traffickers increasingly use websites, mobile applications, and online money transfers to facilitate commercial sex. Children continue to be subjected to sex trafficking in religious pilgrimage centers and by foreign travelers in tourist destinations. Kavya was sexually exploited after leaving home to find money to help out her large family. Rather than seeking to escape sex work, she talks of helping her brothers to get an education.
I am doing this business since 6 years. My father used to drink a lot and was drunk all the time and used to beat me and my mother and brother. My mother used to work at other houses and the money she earned he spent it all in his drinks. If he was denied the money, he would beat us all. Because of the family being big there was always a shortage of food in the house. I also started going for work at some places. I met Varun. He told me to come along to get him some work. So I went with him. He forced me into things and finally left me to a contractor for work. The contractor lived with his wife and kids. I started working there.
One day the contractor’s wife went with her children for a wedding. Getting an opportunity and seeing me alone he forced me into things. He even called his friends and all of them drank and forced themselves on me. When I said I will complain in my locality he said he will throw acid on me if I do that. He also threatened to kill my brothers. He also said he would not pay me for any work and would take me out from my house and would not give me any work. She started crying saying this. I was scared and I had to accept his whims and fancies and agree to all his demands.
When my landlady returned he told me to go away and said I am not needed there now. He told me stay anywhere else now, rented a flat for me and made me stay there and do business. When I objected he threatened me and even beat me. I couldn’t tell this at home also. My father was drunkard and I did not want to bother my mother for this. She was anyways worried about my father’s poverty. I kept suffering the tyranny by him all the time. One day my father asked me for money and when I refused he beat me and my mother. He drunk heavily that day and returned home that night and tore my clothes which I wore. He even raped me then.
When this happened with me and I saw my mother seeing me desperately not able to do anything I was devastated. After this I contemplated suicide cause I could not withstand things anymore. But then I saw my mother alone and brothers and felt pity on them. I thought what else is remaining with me as all my respect is gone so I finally moved into this business without any expectations. I made my brothers study so that their lives are not made hell like mine. I want them to become good human beings and lead a good comfortable life.
As told to the Institute of Development Studies