Social Worker Archana was busy in the final weekend of June 2023, as she followed up with four survivors in Madhya Pradesh. This region struggles with cultural prostitution and includes tribes such as the Bedia, Kanjar and Banchhada peoples who knowingly put their underage daughters into prostitution for income. This practice has been perpetuated for generations by these once nomadic tribes who have struggled to regain methods of income as the country around them changes.
Archana first visited Bina at her home in Rajasthan. Bina (rescued in January 2016 from a brothel in Neemuch) invited Archana in as a friend. A skilled seamstress, she showed Archana some of the clothes she stitched. She and her husband also shared a few of their life experiences. The visit concluded with a simple but hearty meal that Bina cooked for them. We are thankful to see this young woman content and settled in her productive and healthy domestic life.
The next day Archana made the rounds in Madhya Pradesh. She first saw Kani (rescued in Februaury 2019 from Shevgoan, Maharashtra) who is living with her husband. Kani and her husband are five months pregnant. Archana spent time counseling them about parenthood and gave them some parenting tips as well. Archana shares that the newlyweds (married for 18 months now) are enjoying married life and excited about their bundle of joy that is on the way.
The next visit was with Radhika (rescued from Mandsaur in June 2016). Radhika was now over 18 and we knew she was still engaging in prostitution, but she shared that a few months ago she decided to quit. However her family wanted the income and have put pressure on her to continue - so she was still seeing customers. Archana took her for a walk and when they were in the middle of the market, and had a few minutes to themselves, she told Radhika that we (Freedom Firm) would help her if she wanted to get married, quit prostitution and live a different life. Radhika then opened up and shared that she lost all confidence in herself and felt unable to make decisions. Archana listened patiently and encouraged her to spend some time thinking about her life, and to reach out to her anytime. She also shared and reinforced that Radhika had every right to live a good life. This may have been the most significant visit as this young woman still needs much support to break away from the pressures of her family and the hold prostitution has on her.
The final visit was to Sunaina’s house (rescued from Neemuch in May 2016 ). Sunaina made everyone a cup of tea and shared about her routine. She did all the housework as her parents went to work in the fields, and then she would often join them in fields as well. She didn’t think much about her life or future and basically did what her parents wanted her to do. Though she liked seeing other girls working in different jobs, she preferred living with her family.
The restoration journey is so unique girl by girl, and we are honored to maintain long-term support and friendships with so many girls we have rescued as they bravely navigate healing and the rest of their lives.