Padma is part of a tribal community in Chattisgarh and lives in a small village with her family and relatives. Their main source of income is agriculture. Men usually work in the field and women look after children and manage the house. Only when absolutely necessary does a woman goes out to work. There is no electricity, street lights, or good roads and no adequate transportation facilities.
After Padma’s rescue in January 2010, our social workers have been following up with her on the phone or traveling to her village to visit her. Over the years we celebrated when she married a hardworking man, rejoiced when she gave birth to son Arjun, mourned with her when that son died, and connected her with the local primary health center in the nearest town when we found out that she had tuberculosis. Through immediate intervention and consistent care of the PHC workers and Freedom Firm staff, she recovered and then had her second child, a little baby girl.
With the spread of coronavirus around India, Freedom Firm reached out to survivors of sex trafficking to ensure they didn’t go hungry, that they followed safety precautions, and they were counseled as they stayed at home during the lockdown.
In April of this year, when our social worker tried to reach Padma to find out how she and her family were coping during the lockdown, she received no response. The next day our social worker was able to reach Padma’s husband. who informed her that there were no shops open in their town and they had no food to eat. Our social worker then told him about a grocery shop approximately 6 kilometers away from his home, which was open at a particular time so that people could pick up groceries.
Our social worker coordinated with the grocer and Padma’s husband to get the groceries delivered to the family. Later that day, when the social worker called Padma, she was overjoyed that her family had food and that her husband was allowed to work half a day for daily wages to support the family.
We are not sure of the road ahead for Padma and her family, but with each new season, we know we can stand in the gap to provide a bowl full of support, encouragement, and when needed, food.