29 Jul 2016

Saved, the day before I was to be Sold!


Purnima is a member of
YRC Nabadisha
My name is Purnima, and I am 17 years old. I live with my family; my parents, elder sister and my younger brother. In my neighbourhood there are few good people & few bad, but everyone loves me. We used to live in the village and faced some difficulties because my father never worked. This caused stress between my parents.

But then we moved to the city and my mother started working in people’s homes. She paid for our school expenses. My mother always encouraged us telling us to “study as much as you want”. I used to do all housework & looked after my brother when my mother used to go out for work. As I grew up, I lost interest in studies.

I met a boy from another neighbourhood and we used to meet and talk on the phone. We met for a year and I fell in love with him. Then one day he said we should elope. We got married him in a temple near Canning without informing my parents. A friend of mine who was having a bad time at home also ran away from home and joined me.

But unfortunately the boy was not as good as he seemed. After our marriage, he bought us train tickets and sent me to Delhi in a train alone with my friend. From Delhi station, someone took us in an auto & then a cycle rickshaw to a house. That evening I overheard some phone conversations and came to know that the boy had planned to actually sell me from Delhi.

I broke down completely when I realized the terrible truth. He had promised to join me in Delhi after two days but he actually came after a week. My friend and I kept thinking how we could escape but we were locked in a room. I had to cook for the two boys and us, as well as clean the house. My friend was kept in another room. I was allowed to talk to my parents but never privately. The boys would instruct me on what I had to say. I could not tell them what was really happening. I could only hope they could guess that I was not okay. They used to beat me a lot if I tried to go to a corner with the phone. One day I was taken to another house where I found many young girls like me staying there. I realized I was part of a big racket involving many girls. I could tell the other girls were from other villages in West Bengal.

Meanwhile my parents, aunt, and the local youth group YRC Nabadisha members had guessed that I was not okay. They contacted the local police. The Police searched for many weeks and were eventually able to find me. I was rescued just a day before I was about to be sold! The deal had been finalised. I made it by the skin of my teeth! After I was rescued, my friend and I were kept in a Juvenile Home. I desperately wanted to go home to my parents. I was so relieved that I was saved from that deadly place. There was a Court Hearing where I was asked to narrate my story.

After 6-7 traumatic weeks, I was back with my family. I am so blessed that my parents do not ask me to marry. They have asked me to continue studies. For now I am in Class 10, I want to study & stand on my own feet.

Earlier I never used to go the group. I never knew what they did. My friends and neighbours used to tell me to come but I never took it seriously. I regret this now and wish I had been a regular member of the group. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so gullible then. YRC Nabadisha has supported my family and me emotionally. They have helped me explore future career options. They even suggested that after I was 18, and had completed my school I could consider becoming a Woman Driver. I am also wondering if I could become a Nurse.


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