Samira* was 14 years old when everything changed. From a simple and idyllic life in rural West Bengal, India, the young girl travelled to Mumbai to find work as a domestic helper and support her family. Her brother-in-law was supposed to find her a job, but he had other plans. Instead of finding work as a help, he sold Samira into the sex trade.
“In the morning, there would be 12-14 men and in the night, around 15-16 men. They burnt my hands with cigarette butts, and the brothel owners and customers would beat me with belts when I refused to ‘work’. I cried a lot and begged them to let me go home.”
For three months, she endured the unspeakable. But one day, when the police raided a hotel that she was ‘working’ at, she saw her chance and bravely sought their help. That same day, both the brothel owner and her brother-in-law were arrested.
Today, Samira is 18 years old and on the cusp of adulthood. She lives with her oldest sister and is considering a career as a beautician or hotelier. Life has not been easy even after her escape; she faces constant stigma and struggles with the physical and emotional scars of her past life.
But she is finding her way. Samira is one of 49 survivors enrolled in a World Vision programme tailored for child trafficking victims. Together, they catch up on their education, learn new skills and receive the psychological support to help them recover.
“What I went through, I would not want any other girl or woman to go through. Now, I want to do a course where I can live and learn. I want to work and stand on my own two feet.”
Right now, thousands of girls like Samira urgently need sponsors to stand with them as they recover and reclaim a future free of fear. Join the movement to sponsor 1,000 girls by International Day of the Girl on 11 October.
*Name changed to protect privacy
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