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Asha's story

First-person narrative

My parents live at Chitradurga, Karnataka, and are unaware if I am alive or dead. I work at Ruhamah and the thing that keeps me going is knowing that I am safe here. I hope that I can go back to my family one day.

I studied until standard 10 and then I married against the wishes of my family. In the following months, family squabbles turned to serious quarrels at home and I decided to leave. Luckily, I found shelter at a home. Around the same time, I found that I was pregnant and safely delivered the baby in the shelter home.

I used to spend my day aimlessly and would stand outside the home when I needed a breather. In those moments, a man befriended me, convincing me that he was a brother and looked at me as his sister. I soon grew to believe that I was indeed his sister. It was not long before I took to heart everything that he told me.

He convinced me to believe that he would give me a job and take care of me. Blinded by his concern for me at that time, I left my baby at the home and followed him. That day, he offered me food and drink, which left me unconscious.

The next time I woke up, I was in a brothel in Mumbai. Reality jolted me into my senses. Despite various promptings from the brothel owner to begin ‘work’, I refused to submit to her wishes. Her response every time was to verbally abuse me and beat me up.

I was rescued from the brothel after a year. I wanted to testify against Reena and Babitha, the ones responsible for the torture that was inflicted upon me. At court, I was able to see their faces and wanted to make sure that I mentioned every wrong that they did to me. I testified against them and Reena is presently in jail.

Now, I work at Ruhamah Designs in Ooty and even though it is hard work, I feel like there is a purpose and a reason for my life. I have to witness against my traffickers again in June 2014. I fear the faces I will see at court, but I want to see what is done to my captors.

What I look forward to most is meeting my family at the village after the court cases are over.**

**Asha hasn’t been able to go home as her parents don’t know yet about her time at the brothel. Once the court cases are over, she will not have to worry if her parents find out.


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