Swathi got her life back because of friends and partners like you

“I have no words to describe what I went through over there. I had no idea where I was and there was no chance to think about leaving. Even if I leave, I didn’t know where to go", 16-year old Swathi said.

Swathi* was forced to have sex with eight different men night after night. She felt deep burning pain that turned completely numb as the days passed by.

“All I wanted was a job and to live a peaceful life,” Swathi continued.

Restlessness and fear

Losing her parents at a tender age, Swathi and her sisters were brought by her grandparents to a small village near Chikkamagaluru, Karnataka. Her grandparents toiled in the hot sun to provide for Swathi and her sisters. It was a hand-to-mouth income, but the love and affection in the family were abundant. Swathi was enjoying every moment of her life; going to school, playing with friends, helping her grandparents and taking care of her little sister.

Everything was going well until one fine day when her grandparents spoke about her wedding proposal. She wasn’t willing, but she didn’t want to be a burden to her grandparents and so she agreed to get married. It was a simple and beautiful wedding in her village.

That friend who trafficked Swathi

Her marital life started well. She felt loved and cared for. But it didn’t last long. Within a few months, her life took a turn for the worse. Swathi was verbally abused and brutally beaten by her husband.

Highly vulnerable and traumatized Swathi looked into social media to forget her dark moments and that was how she came in contact with Sadhana, who turned out to be a good friend. Sadhana became a listening ear for Swathi and offered her a job in Bengaluru. Swathi was excited about the opportunity and left home.

All she remembered was getting down at the Bengaluru bus stand, but she woke up at a brothel in Delhi. She was asked to get ready for the suitors. She was lied to, coerced to and now forced to sell her body, all by the woman she thought was her friend. Swathi was scared, and confused, but had no way to escape. Helpless tears fell silently in a dark tiny room along a narrow hallway where other rooms were occupied by girls of similar age.

The rescue operation

During this time, Vihaan worked alongside local police and Anti-Trafficking Unit in Delhi and planned to rescue girls from a cross-country sex trafficking ring. On 18 March 2021, Swathi was rescued along with 13 girls and placed in a safe shelter.

After all the official procedures, she was moved to a childcare centre in Chikkamagaluru.

Our trained counsellors and social workers supported Swathi through the journey of recovery. It wasn’t easy, but Swathi needed a little spark to kindle her warrior spirit – and Vihaan was able to ignite the spark because of extraordinary partners like you.

Determined Swathi started studying again and completed her class 10 with good marks. Now, she is enrolled in ITI (Industrial Training Institute) to become a fashion designer.

“Once I complete my training, I want to set up a fashion boutique. I want to bring out beautiful designs and am confident that I will be successful in that.”

Because of your generosity and love, we are able to provide education and legal assistance to Swathi. We helped to acquire identification documents, open a bank account and file for victim compensation. After months of hard work and determination by our legal team, Swathi has been awarded INR 6,00,000 compensation.

This is what happens when you give to our cause. We are on a mission and we will need your support to help many girls like Swathi.

*Name has been altered to protect survivor's identity. The photos are unrelated to the story and serve as an illustration purpose only.

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