Bhakti* always dreamed she was going to become a star. As a young girl, she so desperately wanted to sing and become famous for her voice, she jumped at the chance when a stranger promised to get her work as a singer if she travelled to India with him.
She spent her journey fantasising about her life after winning the Indian Idol but on arriving at her final destination she realised she had been deceived. The man who had promised to make her dreams come true had, in fact, trafficked her and wanted to sell her for sex. Bhakti refused to work – crying and fighting – until finally her trafficker sold her to a brothel owner. She was then kept in a dirty brothel, where she was tortured and forced to work.
A year after being trafficked, Bhakti was rescued in a joint operation by police and Justice and Care and taken to a safe house. Our social workers worked hard to help her get over the trauma of her past with regular counselling and therapy sessions. One day she asked if she could have singing lessons. Staff were overjoyed that she felt motivated to sing again and signed her up for classes. After some lessons, she regained the confidence to sing not only in the shelter but at another NGO programme.
Encouraged and touched by the response she got and the support she had received, Bhakti spoke out about how she had been trafficked on the pretence of gaining a career as a singer. A few months later she was invited on a radio show, where she spoke about her past and the issue of human trafficking.
Bhakti now wants to use her singing as a platform to spread awareness about the crime and its impact.