A Brothel Uncovered
We, at Free for Life, work hard for the rescue and restoration of every girl we can. Recently, our team heard through a whistleblower that there was a brothel close to our Krishanagar Border Monitoring Station where the owners were holding many underage girls. In total, we found sixteen girls that were being trapped and abused in this brothel. All of them were minors and all were from Nepal. Luckily, we were able to contact fifteen of the families and send nearly all the girls back to their home villages in Nepal.
Still, one girl remained. Her name is Chandra, and she was not able to be repatriated to her family. This is her story.
Chandra’s hometown is the region of Nepal that was the epicenter of the major earthquake last April. When Chandra was just three months old, her mother and father separated. Chandra’s father then became her primary caregiver. Her father, however, was not alone in his responsibilities for long and quickly remarried. Unfortunately, Chandra’s new stepmother was uncaring and harsh. She did not treat Chandra like family, but rather like a second class citizen, refusing to send her young stepdaughter to school. Instead, Chandra’s stepmother insisted that housework and family duties were more important than an education. Still, Chandra was a motivated and strong girl, even at a young age, and was able to balance her housework and attending school. She graduated fifth grade with the ability to read and write – a huge accomplishment for a rural Nepalese girl.
Her story took a turn for the worse, however, when she was sent to work at a relative’s home in Chitwan by her father and stepmother. Chandra begged and pleaded not to go, but she ultimately had no choice as her parents kicked her out and her relatives dragged her away from her home. Once Chandra arrived in Chitwan, she was immediately put to work doing exhausting manual labor. One evening, she ran away from her relative’s house and traveled to Kathmandu in search of better opportunities. The only employment she could find was at a local dance bar. Chandra was still a young girl and naïve to the allure of high paying jobs. A man in the dance bar told her of a glamorous job in a luxurious hotel where she would simply clean rooms and get paid well. Chandra accepted the man’s offer.
Things Were Not As They Seemed
Once she arrived at the hotel, however, she quickly realized how wrong her perception of the job had been. Immediately, her “boss” began abusing her. He enslaved her and told her that her “job” would now be sexually serving clients everyday. At this point, Chandra felt trapped and did not know how to escape. She was being held hostage by the hotel owner, and lacked the money she needed money to survive. One day, a “regular” customer, and now suspected trafficker, enticed Chandra with false promises about a job in India that would pay $2,000 on the first day. Chandra was so miserable and abused at the hotel that she grasped onto these promises. She convinced her friend, who was also being abused at the hotel, to go with her into Birgunj, India. Both of the girls questioned whether or not they were being trafficked, however, their desperate situations pushed them to put faith in the hope that India meant more money, more opportunities and less suffering.
The Indian trafficker, who met them at the hotel, was skilled in manipulation and knew exactly how to get them across the border. He sent two younger children with them, knowing that if anyone interviewed the four of them at the border, the guards would assume they were a family. The trafficker was correct, and all four children managed to successfully cross the border of Nepal into Dehli, India. Tragically, once they crossed the border, they realized they had made a horrible mistake. It was then they learned that they had been sold to a brothel owner in India – a brothel that held 35 Nepalese girls.
A Rescue in India!
Despite challenging circumstances, our team was able to enter the brothel and rescue Chandra, along with fifteen others. Before this rescue, however, Chandra was trafficked – bought and sold as property- to four different brothel owners. Person after person took advantage of Chandra’s vulnerable circumstances. Still, amidst the repetitive abuse and distrust of those around her, she kept her heart focused on freedom. Luckily, our partners heard about Chandra’s location and went to India immediately! We were able to bring Chandra back home to Nepal where she is now receiving the recovery she deserves. Our hope is to continue changing narratives like Chandra’s – ones of despair and tragedy — into ones of hope and restoration.
(Names have been changed to protect the identity of this girl)