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The Debt of A Father

When Reshma was 16 years old, she fell in love with a man she met at a flower shop. She ran away with him and soon became pregnant with Sachi*, her first daughter. Reshma returned to her home village to give birth and left her child with her parents before rejoining her husband. Her husband wanted a luxurious lifestyle and indulged in a variety of bad habits. He contracted HIV and eventually died from his illness. By that point, Reshma and her husband had two daughters, Sachi and Nabah* who both attended school in Nagpur until grade 9 and 7 respectively. However, their father had managed to accumulate massive debt before his death. Though Reshma was already working as a prostitute to support the family, her husband did not want his daughters to enter the sex-trade. After his death, Reshma felt she had no other choice but to convince her daughters to become prostitutes in order to pay off their father's debt.

Both sisters hated the work but felt duty-bound to comply. After rescue on 22nd of March, 2013, Nabah said, "my heart did not allow me to do the work, but my mind forced me to do it knowing the situation."

When social workers went to visit Sachi and Nabah who were living with their mother in a village a few months after rescue, neighbors said that the family was at home as little as possible to avoid being found by debtors who were threatening their lives because of the family's inability to pay.

Reshma assured the social workers that she would not send her daughters back into the brothels. The family made food for the social workers and shared stories about their lives and current predicament. Reshma continues to make money via prostitution and also receives financial assistance from a previous customer of Nabah's who wants to keep her out of the sex industry. However, they do not make nearly enough money to pay back the debts plus the high rates of interest that continue to accumulate.

Next time social workers tried to visit Sachi and Nabah, their house was abandoned. The neighbors said that the family fled to Orissa to escape the debtors and no one knows where they have gone.

*names changed to protect identity


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