When you read Aapti’s story, it is hard to imagine that she is only 19 years of age. When Aapti was just 6 months old, her mother died and her father abandoned her. Aapti, however, was not alone. She was taken in and raised by her grandfather. He was a very loving man, and although no one can substitute for a mother, she was loved and secure.

That security abruptly came to an end when her grandfather became ill and passed away. At this point, she was a teenager, and her father and new stepmother found out that Aapti was alone. They brought her back and, to Aapti’s horror, her father sold her into slavery at a local hotel. In this time of her life when she was so vulnerable and grieving her grandfather’s death, her father exploited and betrayed her.

Aapti escaped from the hotel and returned to her village area. But when her father and stepmother heard she was back, they sold her again – this time to a different hotel – as a domestic slave. At this hotel, she was physically and sexually abused, and she was forced to work long hours with no pay.

With an unbreakable spirit, Aapti fought back and was able to escape again. Still, with no support and nowhere else to go, she went back to her village out of desperation. This time, her father and stepmother loaded Aapti, along with other girls, onto a bus with the intention of selling them to a brothel in India. The bus driver overheard enough to figure out what was happening. He was allowed Aapti and two other girls to jump from the bus. Aapti was injured when she jumped, but she managed to make her way into the jungle, where her body finally gave way, and she passed out.


Aapti was found by one of the staff working at Free for Life’s partner Border Monitoring Station on the Nepal-India border. She was taken to a hospital for treatment, and finally, after many years of having nowhere to run, she was ushered through the doors of Nepal’s Safe Home, Peace Rehabilitation Center (PRC). She finally felt safe for the first time in a long time.

Today, there is no more running – she rests from peace, not exhaustion. She is doing very well, and her future looks bright. Her story already points to her courageous spirit and what a fighter she is. Aapti’s spirit has now been coupled with people who walk beside her in support to help her succeed, and the possibilities are very exciting to consider. Aapti is indeed a remarkable young woman and we are blessed to be just a small part of helping her find the freedom so desperately desired.

(Names have been changed to protect the identity of this girl)

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