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.
Anita was 13 years old when she was sold in to a brothel in Barsial. After escaping the brothel and disappearing, Anita was found by her sister Monika who took her to Sonagatchi (India’s largest red-light district). Monika forced Anita to work for her for 3 years.
I come from a village in Bagerhat. We are three sisters and have no brothers. I am the youngest. My father is a carpenter and has no land. At the age of 13, I was sold in a brothel in Barisal by the niece of the woman who sold my sister Monika to Sonagatchi. Monika came to visit the village soon afterwards and heard that I had disappeared. She looked for me and she found me. A shalish was held. The matbors said that I had become spoiled and I could not stay in the village. So, my sister took me to Sonagatchi. For 3 years, I worked for her as a tsukri. Then I quarreled with her because she was keeping all my income. I left and I worked as an adiya. Then I had a babu and set up independently.
My sister, she goes home. She is well off. She has TV, refrigerator. She laughs and she is happy. But how could I visit? How could I go empty-handed? How could I make them happy with my problems?
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