Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 22
It has been a gruelling two years for the 18-year-old victim from Bengal’s Diamond Harbour where her mother does odd jobs for a living while her father lies in bed indisposed after an accident sometime ago.
“But the hard work of two years has been worth its while,” says the young victim of child sex trafficking who spent several months in Delhi’s red light area before being rescued in 2017.
Yesterday, the 18-year-old scripted history around her area by not just managing to return to normalcy after a painstaking rescue, but also by crossing the first milestone of her adult life.
“I have passed Class X,” she says with a twinkle in her eyes.
The social reintegration of the victim wasn’t easy. It came with huge challenges.
Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini, which freed the child with the help of the local and Bengal police in 2017, recalls how difficult it was to convince the local school to take the girl back and help her regain control of her life and move on.
“The principal took a long time to understand that the child was a victim and not the perpetrator. The tendency is to abuse the child victims of sex trafficking, but we were lucky to get her back to school. We are proud that she passed Class X yesterday,” Rishi Kant says.
As for the victim, she’s not complacent with one small victory. “I will study to be a constable in the Bengal Police for which I must pass Class XII. I have set my target,” she tells The Tribune recalling the dark days spent at Delhi’s GB Road area where one of her customers played a role in her rescue.
The boy who used to visit the girl in GB Road was a Bengali and lent her his mobile phone to make a call back home.
The story of her redemption began with that call which the local police traced to Delhi with the help of Shakti Vahini which has a huge anti-child trafficking network in Bengal.
The Delhi and Bengal Police then formed teams to free the girl who later helped the police nab several traffickers from Ghaziabad’s Loni, notorious for its settlement of child traffickers.
Sohidul Islam, who handles the Shakti Vahini network in Diamond Harbour, a VVIP Lok Sabha segment of Bengal represented by state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew, says the area is one of the most child trafficking-prone sectors of India.
The reason: The Sunderbans are under stress. Local families are losing means of traditional livelihoods. Migration is rampant and families left behind are at the risk of child traffickers who lure young girls and sell them into sex trade in metro cities.
The victim was kidnapped from Diamond Harbour by her boyfriend in 2016.
- 18-year-old victim of child trafficking spent months in Delhi’s red light area before being rescued in 2017
- She passed first milestone on Tuesday — Class X exam
- Wants to be a constable in Bengal Police for which she will have to clear Class XII