Trafficked girl AND her family find hope in new future
When it’s too dangerous for a victim of trafficking to return home, Justice and Care believes in going beyond basic repatriation
MAY 2012: Children who have been trafficked are often pushed to their fate by a complex set of circumstances. One main cause is a broken home. Just rescuing these children is not enough. It leaves them with no alternative than to return to the same environment that made them vulnerable in the first place. We believe in going beyond.
When we rescued Lekha* in July 2011 she had been in the brothel for 4 days. She had been sold to a pimp by her step-sister and had been forced to have sex with men who came to the brothel.
Lekha was traumatised by what had happened to her, but her need for time to recover was overshadowed by the desperate situation her family was in. She would burst into tears when she told our aftercare associates about her nine-year-old brother. Her mother had severe mental problems and there was no one to look after him. The children’s father had deserted the family years ago.
It's not difficult to understand that sending Lekha back to her village was too dangerous. Her step-sisters’ family lived close by and could exact revenge on her for testifying against her. We needed to do what we could not just for her, but also for her family. We supported Lekha’s mother with finances and brought her brother’s case before the Children's Magistrate (the Child Welfare Committee) to find a good place for him to be cared for. Her brother, who had never been registered in school before, is about to start school classes for the first time this June. Our team is following up with Lekha’s mother regularly.
And Lekha herself can start to get better, resting in the knowledge that her family is being cared for. She has started taking lessons in reading and writing at the shelter home and will begin a Home Nursing course soon.
*Name changed to protect identity