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Joyeeta’s Story
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 been through...
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June 12-13, 2006
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Joyeeta’s Story

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 been through.
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.

(Name Changed)

“……was going to send me to the camel race”
“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.

(Name Changed)

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.

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