“He showered me in gifts and talked about marriage and our life together. I was so excited, I left immediately, without even telling my mother.”

A Childhood Cut Short

Madhu was raised in a small family in a rural area of Nepal. When she was young, her father passed away thus leaving her brother-in-law, Adit, to be the main provider for the family. Adit struggled over the years to make ends meet and therefore Madhu was forced to leave school after the 5th grade in order to help support her loved ones. So by around the age of 12 she was working like an adult primarily with labor work in the local market and on farms.

When Madhu reached 16 years old she finally got the chance to be a teenager when Adit managed to save enough money to purchase her a cellphone. Embracing her childhood for a fleeting moment, Madhu began talking on the phone to a neighboring boy who soon after left to find work in Malaysia. During their conversations, he introduced her to a man, Praveen, from a few towns over. Over the next two years, the two constantly talked and Praveen and Madhu began to develop feelings for one another. Praveen told Madhu how much he desired to marry her and how happy they would be together. He spoke about how he had a great job and that he had plenty of money to support the two of them. The more they talked about it, the more Madhu became hopeful of the marriage and a chance of a better life.

After three more years, the two finally had a chance to meet face-to-face. Upon meeting, Madhu realized that Praveen was not a young man like she thought, but in fact, 40 years old. He showered her in gifts and once again started talking about marriage. Madhu started thinking about her poor upbringing and her chance at life full of fancy clothes, delicious food, and overall happiness. She had so deeply desired for a better life, and here was what seemed like her only chance. Praveen quickly after convinced her to return to his home so they could begin their life together. Madhu was so excited for this opportunity, she left immediately without so much as even telling her mother.

Upon arriving, Madhu discovered that Praveen had two children, a 14-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter. She felt broken; the man who she had given her life too had so blatantly lied to her. How would she be able to trust him? Was anything he had promised her even true? Madhu wanted to leave but she had no option but to stay with Praveen and his children as nobody knew where she had gone. She accepted that this was to be her fate.

After a few days, Praveen took her into town. He told Madhu that they were going to withdraw money, but instead he took her to his aunt’s house near the border. Praveen told her that they should cross the border and Madhu refused. After an argument over the border crossing, Praveen just left. He didn’t tell Madhu where he was going or even if he was ever coming back; she had no choice but to hope and wait on his uncertain return.

"The staff at the border told me I had just narrowly avoided being trafficked."

A Close Call

While waiting, Madhu came in contact with our partner’s border monitoring staff and explained her story. The staff members knew immediately that Madhu had just narrowly avoided a trafficking situation. They contacted police and Praveen was arrested and charged with fraud. Today, Madhu is 21, reunited with her loving family, and ever-so-grateful for the life she’s been given.

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Free for Life
Free for Life Team
Free for Life is fighting human trafficking around the world in the areas of prevention, intervention and restoration. Together with our partners, we are working every day for our vision statement: freedom for all. View more posts by Free for Life.