The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. The GSI 2018 reports an emerging trend in northeast India where organised trafficking syndicates operate along the open and unmanned international borders, duping or coercing young girls seeking employment outside their local area in to forced sexual exploitation. Many women and girls are lured with the promise of a good job but then forced in to sex work, with a 'conditioning' period involving violence, threats, debt bondage and rape.
Rekha was 12 years old when her parents pressured her to work as a prostitute to pay for her brother’s education. She was eventually able to find a way out of the life through marriage.
I was about 12 years old when I had to start working as a prostitute. For the first two years when I was put into prostitution, I wouldn’t go to work because I used to start crying; I would start fighting.
I wanted to get out, but how do I get out? Where could I go?... There weren’t any organizations or orphanages even that I could go away to and get out.
[Rekha eventually found a way out through marriage but it left her family resentful]
We fought a lot – I have two brothers and nobody talks to me…because I got married. If I was earning as a prostitute, I could pay for them.
Narrative provided by Public Radio International