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Raina's Story

Raina's* family are involved in the sari making business (traditional clothing for women). Raina describes her family as being loving and caring towards her. One day, Raina stepped out of her house to call her uncle from a public phone booth. She was approached by a lady named Tanuga who started a conversation with Raina. Tanuja asked Raina to accompany her for some work before going back home. Raina refused but accepted the tea and water offered by the lady. Raina vaguely recalls the events that followed--the tea had been drugged.

The lady was accompanied by a man; Raina assumed they were a married couple. They took her to the railway station and boarded a train. At first, she was taken to Sonarpur where she was housed for two days. Raina refused food and water offered by the couple and insisted that they send her back home. The couple threatened and abused her. They also took Raina to see some movies, but she cried the whole way through.

The trafficker brought Raina to the red light area in Pune and sold her to a brothel. Raina says she was extremely frightened and begged and pleaded with them to be allowed to go back home. She was beaten severely and forced to prostitute.

On the 28th of November, 2009, Raina strongly resisted rescue when the brothel was raided. She spoke in Hindi saying that she was from Bihar and prostituting of her own free will for the last three years, has just returned from home, and is the only earning member in her family and needs to do this work. During the raid, Raina was taken to the fourth floor of the building where she said her clothes and other belongings were. Once we reached the fourth floor, she put up even greater resistance. She held onto the other girls and the brothel keeper and wept bitterly. Police Inspector Bidve tried hard to separate Raina and drag her away, but she would not budge. She was rolling on the floor and banging her head against the ground. Bidve told the brothel keeper to move down towards the car so that the girl would follow. The brothel keeper refused. Angered, Bidve began to beat the brothel keeper. This frightened Raina. The male constables intervened and asked Bidve to stop beating the lady. The other girls intervened and told the brothel keeper to go with the police and someone would come to get her later. Eventually, the lady and Raina came down.

Interestingly, a social worker reported that as they went down the stairs, Raina's body language and attitude changed. She held the social worker's hand and asked where they were going. The social worker told her about the shelter home from where Raina would soon be transferred back to her family. Raina then shared that she had been in the brothel for approximately four months and was brought by Tanuja. She said that she was instructed by the brothel keeper to act in that manner and was very scared of the police and of getting beaten up and put in jail. She was also scared that the brothel keeper would beat her. The more time the social worker spent with Raina, the more evident it became of how glad Raina was to be out of the brothel and in safe hands.

Raina was about 15-years-old when she was rescued and is looking forward to being reunited with her family in West Bengal.

*name changed to protect identity


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