On 25 June, 2020, our social worker from Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh conducted follow up visits with a few survivors from Jetpura Village in Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh. Pallavi who was rescued in October 2015 from her home in Jetpura Village, was back into prostitution. Her mother was blind, her father deceased, her grandmother aged (who Pallavi was currently living with,) and there were three more family members living with them. In 2018 after failing her 10th standard for the second time, she quit school and got back into prostitution. She shared that her whole family was dependent on her. Our social worker tried counselling her and telling her about other employment alternatives, Pallavi just shrugged and said that she was happy with her family life and the work she was doing.

Disheartened, our social worker went to meet two more survivors who were reascued in June 2016 from Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh. Rima and Kala were sisters and lived with aseven of their family members. Like Pallavi, , they were back into prostitution. Rima told our social worker, “We lack for nothing and we feed our family by our labour.”

Kala, the mother of two children who were sired by different fathers, also expressed the same sentiments as her sister. She was proud that she was able to feed her family. Once again our social worker tried to tell her about the many opportunities available to her – education, skill development training, tailoring, training to be a beautician, learning business through self help groups created to help sex trafficking survivors, but Kala wasn’t interested in a career change and was quite happy with life.

We do get discouraged when women choose to get back into prostitution. But we too choose not give up on them. We go back and meet them, share case studies of other women who have left the trade and are doing well and with words of encouragement to try something new. We can only hope that a day will come when they will choose to give it all up and want more for themselves.

Pallavi, Rima and Kala, see you in a few months!