This is Happening || Sex Trafficking & Prostitution In India

Sex trafficking in India is a very serious issue. Here are some heartbreaking statistics:

  • In India, an estimated 1 Million children are in prostitution
  • The median age of entry into prostitution is 11, with girls 10-12 in highest demand
  • 78% of trafficked victims are from West Bengal
  • 90% of Indian sex workers’ daughters will fall into the profession.

Due to massive amounts of poverty and the treatment of women and girls as commodities, trafficking occurs on a daily basis and supports a large and well organized illegal economy. In addition, natural disasters in nearby Bangladesh and Nepal have left millions homeless and impoverished, which has created desperate people easily exploited by human traffickers.

The economics of sex trafficking

The women who do survive trafficking and commercial sex exploitation are faced with a new set of challenges -- psychological and emotional damage from years of cruelty and neglect, along with health issues such as HIV/AIDS and the social stigma of prostitution are a few examples.

Those who were victims at an early age might find themselves without skills or education, making it nearly impossible to re-integrate back into society. Because of this, many will remain in the trade because of fear of not being able to earn a living any other way. Perhaps it is all they know, and can’t imagine a different lifestyle.

Locked Doors to Freedom

Freeset offers these women a chance to break the cycle. At the center of our philosophy is a commitment to the women who choose to leave the trade and work for us instead. We provide employment, along with training and a community of support, to ensure that their decision to leave the trade is sustainable. 

Here are some of the stories of the women Freeset has been able to help:

Shruti's* story

I can't tell you how old I am. I don't know... Before I started work at Freeset, life was very tough. Day after day I would stand in line. On the days when customers didn't come, I didn't eat. My life was so very hard. When my father and mother died, I had to pay for their funerals. Then my grandmother died, and I had to pay for that too. I had a man, but he left me. I had to provide for my brother and mother. Whatever I had in the bank, I had to get out and pay for the family. I came to work at Freeset so I could provide for myself, my family and my grandchildren. I used to pray to God to help me leave the line and he has helped me and shown me the right road. God gave me this job and now I am healthy.

Debi's* story

My mother's life as a sex worker was very hard, but she did it for us (my brother and I). There were customers in our room all the time which was hard. Because of this, it was difficult to study when I was young. I had to stay outside and play in the street with friends. It was really hard. When I got older it got even worse - many customers wanted me. I thought, if I could just grow up and get married, I could get away from this, but my mother didn't have enough money to give me in marriage. Freeset solved lots of my problems. I didn't need to stay in my room all day - I was away at work for 8 hours - that was great. I got a salary, which meant slowly I could save. Freeset helped me to save lots of money. I was able to use my own money to get married. Because of my job at Freeset, I was also able to help my mother, which meant she didn't need to have so many customers.

Ashoka's* story

Occasionally I go out visiting brothels. I try to explain to girls that standing in line is not the only option - they can get regular wages. They say, "But what can we do?" I tell them, there was a time I also stood on the line. My life is very good now. Sometimes I remember when I was in the line, but now I'm not, and I like that. I come to work with my head held high - with no shame. I've given up the line, I have freedom and peace. I can talk with everyone and tell them that my life is healthy. Now if normal ladies come to visit my area, I can sit down with them and eat with them - I enjoy this. I have found great freedom. I'm able to mix with anyone.

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