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Meera Pal's story

*Meera Pal lived with her mother and brother. They were poor, so Meera began to work as a housemaid at 13-years-old. When she was 15, she went to visit her uncle and aunt in another town. She was traveling alone and had a fever. She noticed that a lady sitting beside her was watching her intently. She asked where Meera Pal was going. The woman began a conversation and told Meera that she offered good jobs. The lady tried to convince Meera to go with her. At first, Meera refused. The lady continued to insist. Trying to be polite, Meera told her that she would go with her another day after she got her mother’s permission. The lady did not give up. She asked Meera to come see the place and the work that day and decide later if she wanted to work there. Eventually, Meera consented.

The woman took her to the train station where a man came to meet them, telling Meera that he would take her to see the workplace. She wanted to know the name of the place but they refused to tell her. They brought Meera food and water and she became drowsy after eating. When she woke up, she was in a room with many girls. Some were sleeping, some were chatting. She looked for the woman and man who brought her, but they were gone. She wanted to know where she was and what kind of work was available. A lady told Meera that the work was to have sex with customers. Meera refused and the woman locked her in a room and did not give her any food. The brothel owner beat Meera until she complied.

One day, a Bengali-speaking woman came to the brothel and took Meera to another place where she was forced again to sleep with men. She didn’t know where she was but remembers being there for 3 months. Finally, the police conducted a raid in the brothel and Meera was rescued.

*name changed to protect identity


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