Bangladeshi Lazia has been in an Indian jail since 7th February 2020. From February 2024, our social worker Smita has been trying to get permission to meet Lazia.  On 27th June Smita was granted permission to meet Lazia.

This is Lazia’s story.

Lazia is 22 years old and is from a small village in Bagerhat District in Bangladesh. Her father is a rickshaw puller and her mother looks after the family and home. Lazia has a younger sister Sufiya who is 18 years old.  

Lazia’s family is and has always been poor.

When Lazia was12 years old, her parents married her off to a much older man named Manik. All Manik did was drink. He did not improve Lazia’s family’s financial situation but just worsened  it. Lazia was studying in school and her parents somehow managed to pay for her education. When she was 15 years old, she gave birth to a son. Though she was still studying, now that there was another mouth to feed, she decided to find a job. 

Roni, her cousin’s relative, used to come often to meet Lazia’s family. He played with Lazia’s young son.

In January 2020, one day when Lazia was returning home from college she met Roni. While they were talking, he offered Lazia some sweets (Lazia feels that Roni did some witchcraft on the sweets), after that Lazia blindly obeyed whatever Roni said. He asked Lazia to come to Dhaka and she agreed.

On 22nd January 2020,  Lazia and Roni left for Dhaka. Several buses later they were at the Bangladesh border.  She was introduced to Roni’s friend Rashid and his sister Rasilla (Lazi later learned Rasilla ran several prostitution rackets in India). 

Lazia, Roni and Rashid made the journey to India by foot. They crossed forests, rivers and banana plantations and finally reached Bongon, a small town located in North 24 Parganas in West Bengal in January 2020.  They then hired a vehicle and travelled to Kolkata.  From Kolkata, they caught a train and journeyed to Mumbai.  Once they reached Mumbai, Lazia was waiting for Moni and Rashid to take her to Nashik, a town three hours away where she believed a job was waiting for her.

Instead of putting Lazia on a train to Nashik, they put her on a train to Indore where Rasilla, Rashid ‘s sister lived.  Once she reached Indore, she stayed in Rasilla’s house for a few days. Lazia started to miss her young son a lot. In the days that passed, there was no sign of any job. She told Rasilla she wanted to go back to Bangladesh.  Rasilla said that she would need to earn money (which she explained was through prostitution) to pay for her own ticket back home. Initially Rasilla spoke softly to her when Lazia refused to have sex with customers, Rasilla started beating her and threatened her constantly. 

Rasilla called one of her regular customer’s Anil and over a video call she showed him Lazia and told him she was available. Anil found Lazia beautiful.  Rasilla gave him the address where he could have sex with Lazia.

Anil had sex with Lazia at a house in Indore. Roni, Rasilla and her husband waited outside the room, drinking and smoking. When Anil finished with Lazia and came out of the room, Rasilla and the rest started to demand a large amount of money from him.  Anil refused. They then started to wrestle with him and tried to take his ATM card. Anil fought back but was overpowered and beaten badly. They even pulled out a knife and threatened to kill him. In the scuffle, Lazia was pushed and banged her head on the wall. She was terrified.   Anil managed to call someone from his house and the person called the police. The police arrived and took everyone to the police station.

Lazia was taken to the police station and then sent to Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Rasilla asked Lazia to lie and say she was from Kolkata. Lazia wasn’t able to understand the language (Hindi) and gave her Bangladesh address.  Roni told the police that he was Lazia’s husband.  All of them were booked and sent to jail. Lazia was sent to a jail in Indore.

On 2nd October 2021 Rasilla was released from jail. Roni made a friend in jail, Ajay.  Roni told him to pay for Lazia’s bail and once out,  she would make money through prostitution and Roni would use it to pay for his bail.

Ajay went to get Lazia out of jail, but she refused to get out of jail.  Lazia learned that Rasilla took Rs 50,000 from her parents saying that they had to get Lazia out of jail. 

Inmates in Indore women’s prison

Lazia has been waiting for more than four years to see her son who is now nine years old. 

The Deputy Superintendent of the Jail in Indore told social worker Smita that Lazia’s case is currently being heard by the District Magistrate. 

We are speaking to our advocates and working on getting Lazia out of jail and then repatriated back to Bangladesh.