The Telegraph
Wednesday , November 14 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Barpeta victim recalls trauma

Kokrajhar, Nov. 13: Julie, 20, still remembers how she was taken to Mumbai by a middleman (dalal) on the pretext of giving her work as a housemaid and later sold to a brothel two years ago.

The girl from Guwahati was repatriated after being rescued from a brothel in Mumbai and is currently with Nedan Foundation, a Kokrajhar-based NGO.

“I was taken to Mumbai by a man who promised there is plenty of work in Mumbai and I would be paid well. At the railway station, I was handed over to a woman called Pinki who took me to a house, where there were five other girls. I was also given a new name. After a few days, I was forced into prostitution. When I refused, I was beaten and kept hungry. Having no other option, I had given up hope of being rescued. Sometimes, we were forced to entertain 10-12 men in a day,” she recalled.

On the day she was rescued by police, Pinki had locked her in a room. “When I heard the police coming, I shouted and they rescued me and another girl, Jyoti Sharma, from Nepal,” Julie said.

The two were taken to Nav Jeevan, a home in Mumbai, before Julie was brought to Nedan Foundation in Kokrajhar last week.

Originally from Barpeta district, Julie can now speak Hindi fluently. Relieved to be back in Assam, Julie says she wants to start life afresh.

“I want to work for a living so that I don’t fall in the trap again,” she said.

Digambar Narzary, chairperson of Nedan Foundation said five more rescued girls now with International Justice Mission, a Mumbai-based NGO would be repatriated back soon.

“Five other girls rescued in Mumbai by Nedan’s network partners are from Barpeta and Nalbari districts. The repatriation of those girls has been in process but re-uniting them with their families is a big challenge because we have to locate the whereabouts of the families after they were displaced,” Narzary said.

Narzary said nearly 11,000 children in Assam went missing from 1998 to 2012.

“In the current year itself, more than 500 cases of missing (both adults and minor) have been reported till date,” he said.

“The conflict-related displacement has made thesituation even worse and agents take advantage in luring girls with promise of better education, work place outside the villages or states. But these girls landed up in such situations,” he said.

Narzary also expressed concern that the state government was yet to work on building compensation guidelines for the rescued traffic victims.

A few states like Goa, Hyderabad and Maharashtra have such guidelines.

The state government should have compensation guidelines for such trafficked victims so that they do not fall prey again, he added.