We recently received the following story from Nepal:
A 16-year-old girl has been rescued after being trafficked into India, enslaved in numerous brothels, and eventually escaping. Here is her story:
Alina* grew up as a middle child in a family of 11 in a rural Nepalese village. Her mother was neglectful, so Alina moved in with her aunt.
At age 14, Alina went to visit her sister. During this particular stay, Alina’s sister had to leave town for a few days, so Alina went to a neighbor’s home while she was gone. As Alina was helping with the household chores, the neighbor, a middle-aged woman, encouraged Alina saying, “You are so fast with your work!” Alina smiled. She rarely received any positive attention at home and the change was nice. The woman told Alina that she had worked in India making good money. Alina shared that she had a sister living in India. The neighbor offered to take her to her sister and to help her find a good job. She promised Alina that she would have money to buy nice clothes and extra to send home to her family. Out of a desire to help with family finances, in particular, medical needs for her grandmother, Alina agreed to go to India.They talked for hours, discussing “life in India” and making plans. The woman warned Alina not to tell her sister about her plans, and the day after Alina’s sister returned , she slipped out to meet the woman and begin their journey.
For one week, Alina stayed with the woman in India. During this time, the woman bought Alina nice clothes, treated her to fancy meals, and taught her about Indian culture. Unbeknownst to Alina, the woman was a local prostitute and trafficker, and was preparing her to be sold in India’s Red Light District. At the end of the week, the woman told Alina the truth: that she would be forced to work as a prostitute in a brothel. Alina cried and threatened to call the police, but she could not escape. The woman met with a brothel owner to broker the sale of Alina’s freedom. Once they had reached an agreement, they forced Alina to sign documents stating that she was there by choice. Sealed with a thumbprint at the bottom, Alina’s freedom was ripped away from her.
Taken in one of India’s Red Light Districts.
For two years, Alina was forced to work in different brothels, hotels, and dance bars in the Red Light District. Alina was sometimes rebellious and fought the traffickers and brothel owners. In one instance, she was given housework for one month instead of having customers. It was common for her to have 8 customers a night. Sometimes she even had Nepali men as customers. When this occurred, she would cry and plead with them to help. Many times, they cried as well and did not assault her. Some even tried to help her escape.
One day, after escaping from a brothel, Alina caught a train, where she met a Nepali beautician trainer. Without mentioning that she recently escaped from forced prostitution, Alina told her she wanted to return to Nepal to be with her family. The woman agreed to take her during the Dashain Festival, and that Alina could stay with her and work in her beauty parlor until then. At the end of the month, the woman escorted Alina to Nepal and stayed in contact with her by phone. After the two-week holiday, the woman invited Alina to return to India and work in the beauty parlor with her, not knowing that she was underage. Alina agreed.
One of the brave women that work KIN’s anti-trafficking border units.
However, on their way back to India, the two were stopped by KIN staff at the border. Both were interviewed by the staff, where it was discovered that Alina was underage. Because the woman was not aware of this, and had legitimate papers to work in India as a beautician, the staff let her go. Alina was taken to the safehouse.
Alina is now receiving counseling in the safe house for the two years she spent in India’s Red Light District. She is outgoing and willing to share information about her experiences with KIN’s staff. Though some parts of her story are hard to share, she works to continue in order to help other girls like her. Through her bravery and willingness to share, KIN hopes to better help other girls in similar situations.
*Name changed for protection.
Check back for updates on Alina and other girls in the safe house. If you are interested in helping Alina and other girls like her, please consider donating to their recovery at EternalThreads.org.
UPDATE: Alina, along with a KIN staff member, has met with a lawyer to begin steps to prosecute the woman who trafficked her into India and sold her into the brothels and possibly some of the brothel owners. KIN has a strong record of successfully prosecuting traffickers in Nepal. Thanks to the bravery of these girls, and your contributions to their recovery, traffickers are being put away, making Nepali villages safer for other girls.
UPDATE: Part 2 of our PureCharity fundraising has been completed! Please consider donating towards sewing machines for the girls at EternalThreads.org.