I thought I saw a miniature clearance between the cars and I ran across the road towards the foot path. In the blink of an eye, I had fallen down and a car was in a proximate distance from my finger. A woman stepped out of her car in anguish and in a rush just to check on if I was hurt. So, she sat next to me on the footpath with her car parked on the side of the road after she helped me up only to find that her car didn’t touch me. Even then I tried constantly to persuade her to purchase the pens that I was selling at the signal. But, little did she know that I was a survivor, and I would sell the quota and bring the money to Parth. If I didn’t bring the money back to him, he would rape me again and beat me up harder than yesterday. “Please take the pens, I need the money desperately”, I told her, as she began moving away into her car, hoping I was fine after the near accident. She thought I needed the money for food and lent me a packet of biscuits from her car, which was absolutely unneeded. I had no sales since morning and now I had some woman giving me free biscuits. I was desperate, so I repeatedly compelled and pleaded to her, to buy the pen and she finally did. She gave me 10 rupees and did not buy the pen. I lent my gratitude and backed off. When I got back to the ruined building and the abhorrent bed, the everyday, usual so called perverted and sex thirsty ‘customers’ began coming in.
My father sold me for 150 rupees in U.P. and when I knew he was selling me, I tried escaping from the car and running away. This man, Parth and his friends would rape me every day and I was just a corpse with no blood or life left in me. They would take me to cheap parties where men are drinking and the pubs would be drowned in smoke. I was sold with my mouth closed and the police officers would never help. They would rather take sex favours and bury me back in those cum-stained beds where both men and women would strip me naked only to satisfy their sexual needs. But sexual needs varied from whipping and surrendering me to electric shocks to repeatedly penetrating me. I was drugged heavily, every single day, so when I was being raped and beaten, no one would hear me, even if they wanted to. My blood had dried I guess my body got tired of bleeding too. There was a point where I couldn’t bleed anymore. I had multiple cuts all over my body and cigarette bud marks everywhere. Eventually, I didn’t know who raped me, who touched me, who hit me and where I was. I was trafficked from one state to another in the matter of hours. Since I was only ten, I apparently was more valuable than the rest.
This went on for 3 years and I survived it all. I did not want to die because death was not better than rape to me. I didn’t want to give up. I cried for months together but I never surrendered willingly. I don’t know if it was poverty, if my father desperately required more money at that point, or if it was just because I was a girl. I really don’t know, although I terribly wish I would. There’s not one Eid where I remember my mother being home. My father was physically and verbally abusive at home and every year during Eid, my mother was in the hospital due to the domestic violence and harassment that would periodically occur at home. When I began interacting with other little girls, I figured that I wasn’t the only one who was sold. The girl who lived next to my room was sold for 80 rupees and another for 200 rupees. Since I went to a local government school in Banaras, I would read simple words. Therefore, by reading the newspapers, we could figure out the place where we were trafficked to. We had no identities, but our characters were differentiated with just the size of our breasts and our vaginas.
At times they would tie us up, strip us naked and take photographs or place us like dolls with makeup in front of cameras and laptops. The brothel aunty was mean, she wouldn’t give us three meals sometimes, we would only have to survive on one meal a day and if we complained, she would unnecessarily being ranting with her filthy vocabulary. There were several girls I met who weren’t sold, but ha their parents willingly send them with random adults who run the trafficking business. Some of them were lied to about how they would make fair money in metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, so their parents had no idea about what lied ahead of their daughters. A year later into this blood filled mess, we knew what to do but I needed to get out. Every time I ran away, I was caught and bought back into the same repugnant bed where we were mere toys that were just easier to handle.
Police raids were ridiculously ironic because those depraved policemen only wanted to satisfy their penises. They would take a certain amount of money from the brothel aunty and take sex favours in return of not shutting down the sex business. For girls like us there is no feeling of empyreal, we just wanted to be educated, to go to school, to become independent, conversing in English like other people. We didn’t choose this life, we never wanted to be hit, raped, drugged, electrocuted and abused, we just wanted to be happy with our families and make them proud. But what do we do when our own parents sold us for a little sum of money? What do we do when they turned their backs on us and our lives? What can ten year olds do about it anyway? Well, you’re wrong, two girls and me who were as rebellious as me ran away. We took our chances and an immense amount of risk and ran away.
I’m fifteen now and I clean vessels and the home of a single independent woman who has become my role model. She has educated me, helped me speak in English and allowed me to speak up bravely with the police regarding the trauma that millions of little girls who are sex trafficked go through every single day. We do have names, identities, families, lives. We are not nameless or just toys and we are not for sale. I’m Raziya and I stand for human rights of little girls because every girl wants to study, get educated and make their parents proud. Just because the family needs money, does not mean you sell your little daughters to sex traffickers to pay up your debts or beat your wives. Unfortunately, India is ranked 1 in Human Trafficking in the world today and we as citizens are doing nothing about it but neglecting the loopholes of the society and encouraging misogyny, pornography and stereotypically ridiculous general roles. Why don’t we make a choice, because we’re worried about “log kya kahenge”, or because we’re worried about “the government isn’t doing anything”? The government is not going to do anything until we open our eyes and ears and do the right thing. It aggravates and infuriates me to commit to this cause and assist, support and boost every victim of human trafficking in India, be it a minor or an elderly. It also provokes me to exasperate, antagonize and madden you as a reader, viewer, thinker and a human to speak up, act out and more over aid and embrace sex trafficked victims.
Sonia David is an aspiring Counselling Psychologist pursing her post graduation in Psychology. She is a writer with a pinch of sarcasm and wit who loves writing about social and feminist issue. The ignorance and the insensitive attitude of people towards these issues motivate her and fire her up to act against the same, so she is passionate about writing. She has met many people, heard several stories and is a storyteller through her writing skills. She is also a Zentangle Artist as she finds it relaxing and soothing. She also loves travelling and someday she wishes to travel all around the country and help be a change in shifting the patriarchal mentality.