Sold By a BoySold By A Boy 
 Payal was rescued by Freedom Firm in October 2018. When our social workers met her in the aftercare home they faced a communication challenge.  Out of the 70 official languages in India and hundreds of sub-dialects, Payal only knew Telugu. The social workers didn’t know Telugu, but after finding a translator they learned her story.

Payal was brought to Chandrapur by a boy Akshay and his friends. He sold her to a brothel keeper named Shahin Sheikh.  He convinced her that she would work as a maid in the brothel, and he would return to take her home during the Diwali (Festival of Lights) holiday. Instead of cleaning floors and cooking as promised, Payal was raped by four to five men every day. The brothel keeper kept half the money she earned, telling Payal that she owed her purchase price.  Not only was she sold, but she had to pay her back too!

After her rescue, Payal was placed in an aftercare shelter and then transferred to another facility in her home state, Telangana. Our aftercare staff tried to locate her family from the information she shared. Payal had left her hometown when she was five-years-old.  All she could remember was that her home was by a lake in Guntur District. Going on nothing more than a child’s hazy memory, our social workers travelled to the area Payal believed to be home. When they searched the place they couldn’t find her home and the lake was no longer there. What had been a town eight years ago was now a growing city.

Although we couldn’t find Payal’s home and parents, we found a private shelter home where she can live in safety and security. The director of the home has promised to help her pursue education and employment. Although she has lost home and family, being betrayed by a boy and sold as a commodity, suffered abuse, pain and unspeakable trauma, today Payal is free.  We are so grateful for the people who have stepped forward to care for her, protect her and help her on the next stage of her journey of recovery.

*Name changed to protect identity