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2002 (Narrative date)

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 international borders, duping 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. 

Sharifa was trafficked in to prostitution by her husband.

I worked in Dhaka as a domestic servant for three years. I left that job last Kurbani Eid (2001) and returned to my parents who were even worst off than before. A man from a neighbouring village used to come and visit a friend who lived near our house. Whenever he came, he tried to see me, he made jokes and we laughed together. Within a few days, he proposed to marry me. I was taken by his sweet language and I agreed. One month later, he proposed that we visit one of his sisters who lived in a village under the same district. He fixed a day. We started early in the morning. In the evening, we arrived in this room. The room belonged to Setara, a malkeen from our district.

The next day, I realized my fate. My husband and Setara whispered. Then Setara handed over 5,000 rupees to him. Afterwards, she told me that if she had refused to pay, my husband would have sold me to Mumbai and I would never have seen my parents' face again. After getting the money, my husband left me here.


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