Updated: Sep 8
Priya* was born to Yashoda during her first marriage. A year after her daughter's birth, Yashoda's husband and mother-in-law passed away (Yashoda lived in a joint family). Left alone with a small daughter, Yashoda decided to move back to her mother's home.
Upon returning, a relative arranged another marriage for Yashoda. She had 3 more children, another daughter, and two sons. Her second husband was an alcoholic. He eventually abandoned his family, and Yashoda was on her own again, with four young children to provide for. She moved her family to another village and found a room to rent in the home of Kamlabai.
Two years later, Kamlabai sent Yashoda to work in another state, harvesting sugarcane. Kamlabai promised Yashoda to find a suitable husband for her 16 year old daughter, Priya, in her absence.
When Yashoda returned 5 months later, Priya was gone. She asked Kamlabai where her daughter was, but the landlord was vague and told her to ask no more questions. Yashoda's concern for her daughter's whereabouts enraged Kamlabai and she began to beat Yashoda, hitting and punching her. She threatened to kill Yashoda if she filed a complaint with the police.
Afraid to go to the police, Yashoda kept silent until the day a Freedom Firm social worker knocked on her door to tell her that Priya was found. Then she heard the truth for the first time.
Kamlabai had sold Priya for $2000 to a brothel keeper in Pune while her mother was away. She managed to escape captivity and flee to the nearest railway station. There, she was found by police who contacted Freedom Firm* to follow up on the case.
Finally realizing that Kamlabai had sold her young daughter into prostitution. Yashoda went with the social worker to file a report with the police,
The police have tracked and jailed 9 people, including Kamlabai, who are participants in Priya's trafficking. There are still others at large who have not yet been apprehended.
Priya is safe now at a government remand home. Yashoda does not want Priya to return home again. She knows she is unable to protect her daughter. We are concerned for the younger children, who are all vulnerable to trafficking, since Yashoda works from early morning to late evening in the fields. Priya's younger sister, just 8 years old, cares for her younger brothers.
Help Freedom Firm continue to bring restoration to Priya, protect and monitor her siblings, provide counselling to Yashoda and prosecute the traffickers, Kamlabai and the 8 other perpetrators.
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*name changed to protect identity
*The police referred this case to Freedom Firm in December 2019. Home Inquiry Reports were completed in July 2020.