NEW DELHI: Fatima, a victim of human trafficking, was married into a family in Forbesganj in Araria district in Bihar when she was only nine years old. Her mother-in-law allegedly ran a brothel in their house, something that was beyond her comprehension. She managed to run away to Nepal, where her parents lived, thrice, but there was no escaping her predicament. Each time she was sent back. “I cried because I wanted to play like other children. My aunt’s advice might have been harsh but it was the stark truth. She told me that either I should fight my fate or simply die. That’s when I stopped running away and started confronting reality,” said Fatima in the first regional meeting of sex trafficking survivors that took place in Delhi on Tuesday.
Fatima now helps run the Kasturba Gandhi Girls Hostel in Araria funded by the Bihar government as part of their ‘Education for all’ programme. The hostel provides shelter to about 50 girls — daughters of scheduled caste farmers and human trafficking victims. The girls are vulnerable and run the risk of being forced into flesh trade. They are sent to school till class VIII.