When Sadhna’s father died her mother was forced to move her family to Kolkata in order to find work so that she could support her family. As a family they had up until this point enjoyed a happy life living in a small village in India, where Sadhna was able to run free with her friends and enjoy a carefree existence.
However, everything changed when they moved to Kolkata Sadhna needed to work in order for the family to survive. Sadhna’s situation is exactly what sex traffickers are looking for as it is easy to prey on vulnerable and scared people who are looking for help and hope. There was a lady living in the local area who heard of Sadhna’s predicament and feigning concern and kindness, promised to help the lonely and frightened Sadhna find a job.
Human traffickers always gain the trust of a victim first by promising them a well paid job that seems too good to be true. You may ask yourself why so many people fall prey to this tactic time and again but the fact is that they are desperate to save their families and desperate to drag themselves out of the poverty within which they live. In addition to this traffickers also prey upon those who are poor and therefore uneducated because as Haugen tells us in The Locust Effect :
“Their poverty frequently also means they are more likely to be less educated, more naïve, less sophisticated, deferential to people of higher status, and less accustomed to asserting themselves-and therefore easier for confident schemers to deceive”.**
They may well also come from a small community where you can trust your neighbours and friends, and when moving to a big city to seek work they aren’t aware of the need to be cautious or discerning of the people they meet.
After trusting the lady she met to help her, Sadhna was taken to a room where men she had never met before were drinking and smoking. She instantly felt uneasy and told the lady that she would like to leave, however she was just told to sit down and have a glass of water. After this she remembers nothing until the moment she awoke in an apartment in Kolkata that she did not know, naked and alone. She learned that she was now the property of the lady who had promised her a job and her “job” was to be sold for sex every day. Sadhna was
IJM reports this story on the their UK website in which they quote Sadhna as saying:
“I felt as if I had no hope left in life and had become a worthless human being.”
However, IJM were able to work with the local law enforcement and put together a rescue operation to go in and save Sadhna and also arrest her persecutors. One part of the work that IJM does which is integral to their approach to rescuing people from slavery is the aftercare that each victim receives. They do not find themselves back on the street after their rescue, but are instead provided with a rehabilitation programme
where they receive the care that they need to heal and become whole again. Sadhna was taken straight to one of these care centres where she met other girls who had suffered similar abuse and by meeting these other girls she learned that it was possible to have hope for the future.
Sadhna is now determined to make the most of her life. She is committed to receiving a full education and going onto become a social worker so that she can use her experience to help other girls out there like herself. She was also courageous enough to testify against her abusers at their trial.
If only Sadhna’s story was a one off. If only her story was unusual. If only her story was an anomaly. But it’s not. Each day all over the world (and often far closer to home than you’d like to think) girls are being coerced into sex trafficking with the promise of hope and happiness. The reality is that they lose everything. They lose their homes, their families, their friends, their self worth, their hope, their every human right.
But Sadhna is a strong and inspiring girl who shows us all that there can be beauty from ashes. However, without the tireless work of organisations like IJM her freedom would not be possible. I would like to ask you to please consider supporting IJM and the work that they do so that you too can be part of this fight. To give to IJM please click here for IJM or here for IJM UK.
If you would like to read IJM’s full story please go to IJM.
1.The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted….
3. to comfort all who mourn,….to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
Isaiah 61 v 1 & 3
*Sadhna is a pseudonym
** The Locust Effect by Gary Haugen & Victor Boutros, p 61