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Sold into trafficking, 24-year-old begins a quest for her real mother

The 24-year-old victim of the Lokhandwala sex racket, in which several young women over two decades were pushed into the sex trade in an operation busted by the Mumbai police a month ago, has been sobbing since she was rescued. She is determined to find answers for questions that she is for the first time permitted to ask. One of them is whether her real mother truly knew the fate she chose for her.

“I want to meet my mother and to know if she was the one who sold me off to these cruel people. It is something I have wanted to do for 17 years.

“I was seven when I was abducted from my house somewhere in the North. All I remember is that the person who brought me to Mumbai was a relative whom my parents had trusted. I was made to live in a house owned by a family called the Thakurs. I was told that I had been adopted by them. But I was a strange kind of daughter. Till I attained puberty, I was in charge of all the domestic work in the house. I had ambitions of studying, and I would plead with Poonam Thakur, who claimed to be my mother, to send me to school, the way her other daughters were sent. Instead, I was assaulted and screamed at every time I asked. In time, I stopped making the plea.

“No matter what she claimed, as young as I was, no matter what details I had forgotten about my life, as I grew up, somewhere inside, I knew that Poonam Thakur could not possibly be my mother. I was constantly under attack and I always had bruises on me. When I attained puberty and began menstruating, I didn’t understand what was happening to me, I would really wish that my mother could be with me. I didn’t even understand getting my periods when I was pushed into the flesh trade. I knew that what was happening to me was not right, but I could not escape it. I was groomed and forced into it.

“I think it was around 2010-11 when I was taken to Agra. A van full of police had visited the place where I was, and they forced me to signed a document, which they claimed that was the passport to help me fly. It was only during the police investigation that I found that the man who is arrested as the accused now, had claimed himself to be my biological father.

“It seemed to be a well-managed operation at the passport offices as well as the immigration offices at airports. No one ever stopped me or doubted what was said. In this way, I was taken to the Middle East three to four times. They made crores off me.

“Then, I was pushed into bar dancing which was an exclusive form of the same prostitution. It was never about quantity but quality. Only those who could afford my rate could have me.

“The meeting with advocate Abha Singh has been a godsend. She decided to take up my case and she ensured that she explained the entire circle to the court. I want these four punished severely and I have faith in her and judicial system,” she said.

The four accused arrested are brothers Jitendra Thakur, 37, Vimal Thakur, 47, and women operatives, Anju Thakur, 43 and the woman who claimed to the victim all her life that she was her real mother, Poonam Thakur, 45.

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