Rani

Snuggled in between concrete walls and office buildings is a jewelry workshop that employs survivors of sex trafficking. At one point in time, these survivors were victims in the same city. Abused and tortured within the confines of other concrete walls, they were slaves in brothels where sex was bought. They were hidden in dingy rooms where they were never given a choice. Today they have decent jobs as jewelry artisans with Ruhamah Designs, not far away from the place where they once were exploited.

Clinking of beads and the rough rustle of wires, permeate the workshop as they are separated and put on the table. The girls talk in a relaxed atmosphere about their experiences and share stories as they gather tools to begin another day at work.  For them, Ruhamah is a tangible job opportunity to get back on their feet and functioning in society after the trauma of trafficking.  Some talk with each other while the others just observe, listen and make short responses. The voices blend with the melodies of the ringing of beads, trinkets and charms.  Each melody is different, but beautiful. Each voice cautious, but willing to take the risk.

Rani assigns tasks for the girls every morning as part of her role as Ruhamah Designs workshop manager in Pune.  She joined Ruhamah Designs last year and has been building the workshop into a more efficient place, with her 17 years of experience in business. Rani also carries the responsibility of sourcing materials for every Ruhamah workshop in India as she has good expertise in negotiating prices and sourcing from manufacturers. Her daily tasks in the workshop include supervising the girls, making sure that discipline is maintained and plan trainings to recruit rescued girls for the workshop.

Rani (far left) at a Artisan training session in 2014 

Rani assists the girls to engage in work that not only gives them a pay check but also restores them into whole persons. In that process, behavioural issues arise that need to be addressed and the effects of past trauma begin to show. These effects usually appearing as anger or subtle disobedience and only noticed as undercurrents. Rani then provides opportunities for the girls to heal by confronting their deepest fears, assuring them that they are not on their own and urges them to take responsibility for their lives.

One might think, ‘What good could come out of the life of a traumatized survivor of sex-trafficking?’. Rani, almost every other day pushes herself to be a comforter and mentor to the girls because she recognises their worth as women – far more precious than the stones they work with. Rani says that she, ‘finds satisfaction in what I do,’ probably because she gets to witness first hand every step of the process in the making of gorgeous young women.

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