The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. The GSI 2018 reports an emerging trend in northeast India where organised trafficking syndicates operate along the open and unmanned internatinoal borders, dupiong or coercing young girls seeking employment outside their local area in to forced sexual exploitation. Many women and girls are lured with the promise of a good job but then forced in to sex work, with a 'conditioning' period involving violence, threats, debt bondage and rape.
Piyara was 22 years old working in a garment factory in Dhaka when a woman called Joynob proposed to take her to Kolkata to do the same work. However, upon arrival she was taken to a house to undertake domestic work. After 2 month, Piyara was forced to do sex work.
In Kolkata, we stayed at the house of one Shushanto Mistri. Joynob told me that to get a good job I needed to learn Hindi. She said, stay here with Babu. You do the household work and learn the language. I was there two months. During this time, Joynob's Babu tried quite a few times to have sex with me but I refused.
After 2 months, Joynob brought me to a private house in Rabindra Sarani. She forced me to do sex work. At first, I refused. She tried to convince me, and then she hit me. I told her, send me back to Bangladesh. I want to go back to the garment factory but she did not listen. She said that girls who came here could only enter. They could not leave.
I was confined in that house for 9 months. I was never allowed out. At first, I pleaded with customers not to have sex with me. Many paid the fee and left without using me. I received none of that money.
[After 9 months confinement in a private brothel, Joynob took Piyara to Shonagachi. There, Piyara quarrelled with her.]
Why she never paid me? Here, other girls gave me ideas to fight her.
[Once in Sonagachi, Piyare no longer objected to sex work but wanted to be paid. She broke away from Joynob and began working as an adiya, and later as an independent sex worker]
Joynob is still after me. She wants my money because she knows I am earning well. A few months ago, she offered to accompany me to get an abortion. I don't know what she fed me but I felt very sick in my head afterwards. She hit me many times. When I told others that she had fed me some harmful medicine, she said I was mad.
Joynob then decided that I should go home because I was not well. She made me withdraw all my savings at the bank in preparation for the trip. I had 82,000 rupees in all. Then she ran away with my money.
Narrative located in the report ‘Beyond Boundaries: A Critical Look at Women Labour Migration and the Trafficking Within’ by Thérèse Blanchet provided courtesy of The Child Protection Hub