Rashmi was born in a small village. Raised by her paternal uncle and aunt after the loss of her parents, Rashmi’s childhood was one filled with ill-treatment, hurtful words, overwork and neglect. Her life would be buried in household chores after school, half plate meals, bruises and abuse.
She would often dream of earning enough money to start a new life away from all this chaos of her childhood. When children would dream of becoming doctor, teacher, Rashmi dreamt of running away to a better life. At this junction, she met with a woman from her village who promised her an astounding new life in Mumbai. With no delay Rashmi jumped at the opportunity and ran away with the woman to Mumbai.
At Bhiwandi’s red-light area young Rashmi’s fate was sealed, captive behind the brothel walls, abused beyond words, she succumbed to her circumstances. Her captors kept her for a period of three years before allowing her to visit her family. But this freedom for Rashmi was short lived as her money ran out, and with no other means to earn a living she returned back to the flesh trade.
One fateful afternoon, a worried Rashmi confided in our staff that someone had informed her family about her identity as a commercial sex-worker in Mumbai and Rashmi was scared of the repercussion this revelation would bring. The staff consoled her and suggested exiting the trade to Rashmi, they also assured her they would help her be trained at a life skill and acquire a job. Rashmi couldn’t believe her teenage dream of freedom could be fulfilled 17 years later. With all courage she could muster she decided to trust the staff who was promising her freedom.
Rashmi wasn’t betrayed like the first time. Six months later she has enrolled in an English speaking course and undergoing life skills training. Rashmi has embraced her new life and she can’t wait to put her past behind her and move forward.
Thank you for providing Rashmi the opportunity to escape to a better life, and for continued support for the women left to be rescued.
*Name and photo changed for safety