Updated: Aug 1
Welcome to Freedom Firm’s second Awareness blog. This monthly blog began in July when we celebrated Nadia’s story of freedom.
Watch the slideshow to LEARN how girls are trafficked into brothels in India.
Tina and Sayantika's story of rare friendship
I trust her most in the world. -Tina
Tina and Sayantika’s friendship began over a decade ago in Kolkata, in a shelter home for teenagers rescued from sex-trafficking. Tina remembers what drew her first to Sayantika. “Even though she was also a survivor, she always helped other girls who were struggling. She brought a smile to their faces.” During the months in the shelter home, Sayantika taught Tina how to tell time.
As all good friends, they had their squabbles too. Tina recalls a fight they had. “I don’t even remember what the fight was about, but we were so angry we didn’t talk to each other. Later that evening, we accidentally started talking again. We realized how silly the fight was and had a good laugh."
When the girls turned 19, they left the shelter home to join Freedom Firm’s jewelry-making business. Working together and living as roommates for the next four years, the girls formed a lasting bond.
They went out to watch the latest Bollywood movies, and shopped for groceries in the open-air market. They loved eating street food together and often paid for each other’s favorite snack (pani puri).
Tina shares: “Sayantika had such a positive influence on me. She helped me let go of the past. I have always looked up to her. She always and even now guides me.”
In a country where parents arrange their daughter’s marriage, most rescued girls don’t have the support they need to find a good partner. Sayantika filled the gap. Tina remembers, “If I liked a boy, I would share it with her. If she said he wasn’t good, I would listen and not pursue that boy.”
Today, both women are happily married, and their husbands have become good friends. The two friends continue to inspire one another as they dream about matchmaking their future children so they can be family as well as friends. Although Sayantika lives in a village 5 hours away from Tina’s home in Kolkata, they stay connected by messaging constantly and having a weekly video call.
During this current global pandemic, we need one another for encouragement, help, and inspiration perhaps more than ever before. Although we are distanced from our friends, it is possible to stay connected like Tina and Sayantika.
In many ways, this Awareness Blog is built on friendships - you may have heard about this blog from a friend! Over 662 people have already visited this page and we hope old and new friends will join together to bring freedom and healing to others. Please consider supporting friends like Tina and Sayantika through the action steps below!
Your purchase helps to rescue and restore girls still trapped in brothels around India. It costs $6000 to rescue one girl from a brothel, pursue her perpetrators through the legal justice system and support her restoration for an entire year after rescue. Your purchase or donation helps rescue one more girl!
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