Freedom Firm staff have been in constant touch with girls in their villages, towns, and in shelter homes to ensure that they are doing well, as the second wave of the pandemic rages across the country. A few survivors of sex trafficking rescued by Freedom Firm have fallen ill and are getting medical attention. At such a time as this, it is hard to believe that there could be good news. But for Sneha and Unita this has been a time of respite, a time to hope again – like a silver lining around a dark cloud.

A rogue grandmother with cruel intentions – Sneha’s Story
Sneha was only 13 when she was rescued in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh in 2019. Shortly after her rescue, we were informed by Child Welfare authorities that her grandmother had applied for her custody. From our experience with sex trafficking offenders, we realized that her grandmother must be involved in her trafficking and didn’t want to lose time and money with Sneha in a shelter home. We quickly submitted a report to protect Sneha. The court refused to release Sneha and she continued to be safe until today. 

This April, Sneha’s grandmother filed a petition in the court, for her release. The court was scheduled to hear her case but was closed because of the increase in COVID-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh. For Sneha, it is a time to rest, to understand her grandmother’s intentions, and learn new skills that would benefit her in the future. 

Withstanding horrific abuse at the hands of strangers – Unita’s Story
The day Freedom Firm rescued Unita, 25, we also rescued Kamini and Pushpa, minors in Wani, Maharashtra. At the police station, Freedom Firm social workers noticed that Kamini answered questions that we posed to Unita and declared that Unita was her sister. Unita and Kamini didn’t look like sisters and bore no family resemblance. We shared our suspicions, that they were probably not sisters, with the superintendent of the shelter home.

When girls and staff tested positive in the shelter home, the girls were separated and the superintendent took the opportunity to interact with Unita. Unita shared how she was trafficked at a very young age, along with her sister, and sold to the Kesiya family in Madhya Pradesh. She was forced to sleep with men and told to say her family name was Kesiya. We can only imagine how the lies she’s had to tell and sexual abuse has impacted Unita’s mental and physical health. We marvel at her courage to withstand such horrific abuse at the hands of strangers while being separated from her family for many years. For Unita, the dark cloud that hung over her life is finally lifting. The silver lining for Unita is that no fictitious relatives have come looking for her and there are people who care enough to ensure she is protected in the long run. 

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