The story of Sree comes to us from Mahima Care Homes. In India, there are thousands of minor-aged girls that have been trafficked into the sex trade. Mahima Care Homes works to rescue and rehabilitate those who have suffered greatly. At Mahima, girls find shelter, food, counselling and the support of a caring staff. As part of Partners International Canada’s Hope in Action tour, you can hear from Smita Singh, the director of Mahima Care Homes. Smita will be in British Columbia from March 30 until April 8 and then journeying to Ontario where she will be speaking from April 9 until 18.
Sree (name changed) was born in Nepal and at a very young age was sent to Kathmandu to work as a domestic help. For 3 years she worked long hours in tea stalls and hotels until the time when she told the couple who brought her to find her a better paying job. They told her that she could go to Sikkim to work and she agreed. However she was brought to Sonagachi, a red light area in Kolkata, and sold to a Bengali woman. She was then abused repeatedly and often travelled to Delhi, and other parts of India to attend clients. After about 2 years she got a little more freedom but never thought to leave the brothel as she did not think she had any alternative or hope.
After rescue, she was placed at a night shelter and after 15 days came to Mahima. She was very hostile and angry. But slowly she saw that she was not a “damaged” person but a beautiful girl that God loved very much. She studied and then began attending a vocational training center to make aromatherapy candles and soaps. She then worked as a paid intern at that business. She came to know Jesus and accept him as her Saviour. So she began healing. However she always wanted to find her friend and get her out as well. It took a lot of courage and strength for Sree to step out of her nightmare associated with her past, her fears, her inhibitions with just one desire in her heart, to bring her friend out of the darkest corners of a brothel where she was enslaved too – to be able to show her the life that she deserves in ‘freedom’.
Sree, accompanied by investigation officers, police as well as other social workers was able to raid brothels in North eastern India in November to help rescue her friend as well as other young women held captive in some of the brothels there. It took a lot of valour for Sree to leave the security and safety of Mahima and stand up to fight for her friend, a lot of strength to set foot into the same brothel where she was tortured for years and determination to face the unknown to make a difference in the lives of these young women. Her repatriation back to Nepal had to be postponed as well so that she could bring about change in the life of the one she cared for. She stands tall and smilingly says, “If I can bring out one girl out of the brothels that would mean a lot to me. To be able to show her that there is more to life than the bondages. I have come to know a Lord who is ever mighty and loving and that He loves them too.”
The raid helped in the rescue of 4 Nepali minor girls but Sree’s friend was nowhere to be found and it seemed that she was moved to some other place. Sree is not ready to give up and is gearing up for another raid with the police. However following that disappointment Sree found out that her friend was back in the village and on 18th January 2015 she finally flew with a team back to Nepal where she will continue to heal and reintegrate back into her community and connect with her family.” Sree will return at a later date to testify in court against her perpetrators.