Liza’s Story In March 2019, Liza was rescued by another anti-trafficking agency in Mumbai. She was placed in a remand home in Maharashtra where Freedom Firm counselor Seema was conducting life skills training for the girls at the home.
After spending a few months with Liza during the life skills training, Seema shared this update with us, “When we first started the training, Liza was shy but now she is confident. She started to think about her future. She has a greater understanding of herself, who she is as a person, and now recognizes her qualities and values. She plans to become a lawyer to help other girls and women who have survived the trauma of sex trafficking.’
When asked if she liked the life skills training, Liza shared, “The session on Women and Child Rights has given me the confidence to deal with difficult situations and I’m certain that I’ll be able to help other girls fight for their rights. I am learning how to make friends and am learning how to deal with anger and difficult relationships. I know I am a completely different person. I want to become a lawyer and help survivors of trafficking in the future.”
Preparing for a future outside the brothel When the government of Maharashtra granted Freedom Firm the long-awaited access to remand homes across the state, our social workers went into high gear. Over the years we have developed a life skills course based on the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, life skills training modules developed by the state of Andhra Pradesh, and a UK based NGO in Maharashtra. Our life skills course is customized to meet the needs of the survivors.
Our counselors and social workers are now offering the course in 2 homes in Maharashtra to survivors of sex-trafficking. With Freedom Firm’s re-entry into remand homes across the state of Maharashtra in the month of August, our social workers and counselors now have access to 32 survivors of sex trafficking residing in these shelter homes on a regular basis to offer life skills training. Life skills training includes sessions on self-awareness, goal setting, effective communication, empathy, interpersonal relationships, women and child rights, problem-solving, decision making, and negotiating peer pressure. The impact of the life skills course will be measured when the sessions are completed and we receive feedback from the shelter home staff and the girls.
The life skills training is provided for survivors usually from impoverished backgrounds who have had no exposure to living in society. When we meet the girls at the remand homes, they are unhappy with their lives and have no hope for their future. Freedom Firm counselors enter here. They provide counseling services to ease their mental trauma. The training provides survivors with skills to lead a productive and independent life.
*Name changed to protect identity