Joyeeta today is an independent and confident young
girl of 17. Looking at her and watching her laugh
along with her co-workers, very few would guess the
trauma and shattering experience that Joyeeta has
Joyeeta grew up in a village in Bengal with her grandmother
and brother as they had lost their parents at an early
age. There was quite an age difference between the
two siblings and hence, when their grandmother died,
her brother became Joyeeta’s guardian.
Life went on and various events unfolded and her brother
married while Joyeeta was still a child of twelve.
What took place after her brother’s marriage
is not unlike what we see in innumerable films. An
intruder in her brother’s family, Joyeeta was
made to work as a domestic help in Bombay by her sister-in-law.
Not satisfied with her earnings, her brother sold
her for Rs.5000 to a brothel at Sonagachi.
12 year-old Joyeeta was lucky to get the support
and sympathy of some of the other girls. She escaped
by scaling the wall and managed to reach Howrah Station.
At the station she was rescued by a genuine and kindhearted
policeman, who sent her to the Liluah Home and then
transferred her to one of the ATSEC member NGO run
Homes for Rehabilitation.
From there on her path to recovery has been a steady
one. Today, Joyeeta stands as a pillar of strength
and courage to all those who find themselves in a
situation similar, if not worse, than hers.
Joyeeta is not the only one and there are scores
of others who suffer a fate worse than hers. Does
this not make a statement about the society that we
live in today- the need to convince people about a
child’s right is immense and the challenge lies
in the fact that the entire process calls for not
just learning of new concepts but also unlearning
some of the age old notions and concepts that have
dominated society since time immemorial.
“……was going to send me to the
“I often ran away from my home in Alipatari
village (Bangladesh) to avoid my mother’s beating
and the household chores she gave me. My father is
dead and my mother works as a cook to sustain the
family. With her meagre earning we can hardly make
both ends meet.”
One day, I was at Kamlapur Railway Station when a
man called Zaheer approached me and promised me food
and clothing. I agreed to go with him. When I reached
his place, I found seven other children there. Zaheer
and his friends took us children on two bus rides,
a walk across the Benapole border (Indo-Bangladesh),
a cycle van ride and finally onto a train bound for
Sealdah. In the train, I overheard Zaheer planning
with his accomplice to send me and another boy who
was around 9 years old, to Saudi Arabia for camel
racing. A co-passenger who had overheard Zaheer’s
conversation asked me to raise an alarm on seeing
a police. On spotting a GRPF, I told him that I was
from Bangladesh and that Zaheer and his accomplice
were going to send the two of us to the camel races
in Saudi Arabia. Zaheer and his friend tried to run
away but were intercepted by the police. We were all
taken to the Presidency Jail in Kolkata.
“I was in Presidency Jail for seven months after
which I was sent back to my home in Bangladesh. Iran
away from home after staying for 10-12 days and crossed
the border again, this time on my own. This time a
lady approached me and promised me food and clothing
if I accompanied her. I followed her when she got
off at Dum Dum, but I ran back and caught the running
train on having second thoughts. A gentleman on the
train handed me to the GRPF when the train reached
Sealdah.I spent the night with the railway police
at Sealdah. The following day, I was brought to this
observation Home. This was three years ago.
Noor Mohammad is ten years old.
He was repatriated to Bangladesh.
Seema’s parents live 20 km from Kathmandu. Since
she was the sixth of eight daughters and one son,
her parents did not hesitate to give her up for adoption
to a couple who promised to educate her and bring
her up with love. They also paid the impoverished
parents 10000 rupees for their nine-year-old daughter.
Later Seema found that four more girls aged between
10 and 14 years had been adopted by her foster parents
from neighbouring villages. Five days later, all four
girls were sore and bleeding as their foster father
and four friends raped them mercilessly, beating them
up to cow them into obedience. Two years later, they
were experts in bed, managing to entertain at least
a dozen men every night in Mumbai’s Kamathipura,
most of their clients being Arabs who paid well for
pre-pubescent girls. Not one of these children has
escaped STD. Not one of these girls will survive long-
each one of them is HIV positive.