Sajini* was trapped in Nagpur’s red-light district, and she had lost hope of any escape. She was rescued by the police but was immediately released back into the red-light area. Then on 13th May 2011, Sajini was rescued by Freedom Firm. She was just 15 years old. She was placed at a short-stay home for six months. Sadly, she was released when her previous brothel-keeper produced fake documents claiming that she was Sajini’s mother. In a statement to the CWC Sajini said ‘twice a lady named Baijantibai who is from Gwalior got me released saying that she is also into the same business.’ However, our investigators found her again and rescued her for the third time in the red-light district on 26th August 2011.
Our social workers followed up with her through the months that she stayed at the short-stay home in Nagpur. They worked to get her transferred to another city because it was clear that Sajini would not be safe if she stayed in Nagpur. Sajini was transferred to a safer government home in Mumbai, where she started to process the trauma and pain she had endured in the brothel. Freedom Firm social workers spent a year building trust with Sajini, supporting her, and giving her reliable advice for the future.
Sajini stayed at the shelter home for almost a year. She grew close to several social workers at Freedom Firm and confided that she wanted to transfer to a shelter home in her home state in Rajasthan. Our social worker visited the shelter home and represented Sajini’s case. In a week she was transferred to a shelter home in Rajasthan. The same year she was released to her parents when she turned 18.
Freedom Firm social workers care for Sajini
Freedom Firm social workers visited Sajini at her village. Constables from the local police station joined the social workers to follow-up with her. When they arrived at her home, they met her along with her parents and younger siblings. Her parents mentioned that they had become very protective of Sajini and kept emphasizing that they were innocent and not involved in Sajini being trafficked. Her father had sent Sajini to a city in Rajasthan to a lady to study music. She had run away from her teacher and disappeared. From that time on the family lost all trace of Sajini and though they made every effort, they could not find her.
When our social workers asked them why they did not file a missing report at the police station, her father said he tried to file a report but the police refused to cooperate. He also shared that after her release in 2013, a group of people arrived in a jeep to attempt to re-traffick her. However, the villagers and the family together intervened to protect Sajini. Her family attempted to file a case against the perpetrators but the police refused to comply once again.
Sajini and her family reported to the local police station every month to fulfill orders passed by the Child Welfare Committee. The last time our social workers visited Sajini, her family had plans to arrange her marriage.
Now, more than two years after she was released, our social workers visited Sajini. Sajini is married to a post-graduate and lives with her in-laws. She works at home - it's work that she loves, and is expecting her first child. "I like my life better now because I am home, married, and live with people who love and care for me.” says Sajini.
*name changed to protect identity