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Rescuing girls from the shadows

Rescuing girls from the shadows since 1989

We are proud to say that thanks to 27 years of outreach and education in the red light areas, there are no female sex workers under the age of 18 in our district. We have also reduced second generation sex workers by 70 percent and it is one of our priorities to ensure that the daughters of sex workers do not follow their mothers into the flesh trade. Unfortunately, despite various safeguards we have in place some still slip through our protective net.

Kaama’s father died of HIV when she was five years old. Following his death, her mother became a sex worker in order to support her family. Snehalaya met her mother in the red light district and convinced her to let Kaama come and live at our Rehab Centre when she was six years old.

In 2014, Kaama’s mother approached us asking to take her on holiday to New Delhi. As with all requests like this we undertook careful vetting and considered the associated risks balanced against the rights of her mother to spend time with her child. She was very convincing in her intentions and after careful consideration we agreed.

We were wrong. Kaama’s mother sold the 12-year-old to a brothel owner for 35,000 rupees.

Kaama somehow managed to get hold of a phone and called Snehalaya saying she was still in Delhi but when asked why she avoided the question and quickly hung up. Suspecting something was very wrong our team started investigating and, working with the Delhi police, finally located and rescued her in September 2015. Kaama is now back in the safety of the Rehab Centre. We are doing our best to restore her stolen childhood through love and counselling, however she can still be quiet

and withdrawn at times. Until the music starts that is, then her love of dancing and her hopes of becoming a dancer take over and she shines on the dance floor.

Once beneficiaries like Kamaal are in our care, they become part of our Snehalaya family. Even after they leave our care, we stay connected and committed to all our beneficiaries to ensure they are safe and secure wherever they end up. If, like Kaama, we get it wrong or learn they are not safe, we do everything in our power to find and rescue them.

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