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2007 (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. 

Charita* was kidnapped by a boy on her way home from school. She was taken to Mumbai and sold to a brothel. There she found her sister who had disappeared a couple of year previously. Though Charita was rescued from the brothel, her sister remains there.

Because … I am afraid what will happen if people know what I have gone through and because I am a Muslim girl.

I am 17 and I’m from Bangladesh. My sister disappeared when I was 13 or 14. A couple of years later, when I was coming home from school, a local boy kidnapped me and sold me to a brothel in Mumbai. I found my sister in the same brothel. The boy had sold us both in revenge, because my sister had refused to marry him. She was in terrible condition, sick and suicidal. I was rescued 2 years ago, but she is still there. I can feel her standing beside me and I can hear her voice. If my sister ever comes back home I will stop cutting my arm. I will never trust anyone again.


*name given

Narrative ‘Hidden By The Burkha’ featured in the project ‘Another Me: Transformations from Pain to Power