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.
Durga belongs to the Bacchara caste, a community where women are the primary breadwinners of families and many work as prostitutes. Durga’s mother wanted to secure a better life for her daughters and so Durga was married off at a young age. However, at the age of 13 Durga decided to leave her husband after just a few months of marriage. Having no other options, she was forced in to prostitution.
After that, I had to work as a prostitute. I had no other choice – we didn’t have much money and there was no other option.
For other girls like me, I want to explain to them, to tell them, that this work isn’t good. You should study, there’s nothing in this work. If I can explain it to more girls, then they can also get out of this work.
We used to see other people going to school and we would wonder, ‘Why can’t we also go to school? Why can’t we also study?’
[I want to keep studying] Until I make something of myself.
Narrative provided by Public Radio International