Picture this; a happy-go-lucky fourteen year old, who would spend her time playing make believe games and enjoying her childhood on her own terms. Studying wasn’t a task she was ever interested in. One day, this carefree bubble was burst by a visitor who took her to Calcutta with the permission of her grandmother. At the age of fourteen, she was sold to a brothel in Sonagachi. The brothel’s mistress would beat her up and treat her like she was garbage. After being handled in a very harsh manner, she was dumped into a room with customers.
A pimp from Muzaffarpur once took her for business… what followed, is a most gruesome experience that no one should ever have to go through; she was a victim of twenty men forcing themselves on her. She was an innocent fourteen year old, and this was unbelievably traumatic for her, so that very day, she gathered some courage and climbed out of the window, running for her life. The men chased her right upto the railway station, but were unable to find her as she was hiding under a seat. She was scared and she was shivering. After the men got off the train and gave up their search, she did the only thing she could think of doing; she returned to her mistress, crying inconsolably. This itself points out the naivety of young Jaya.
The mistress made the innocent girl believe that this was her fate, and that she had been paid for and was now her property. At a very young age, she started drinking more than she could take, and was in the darkest pits of her world as she knew it. Even when she talks about it now, she says,
“I had become an alcoholic of the worst kind. I found peace in being abusive and drunk. There was no hope lingering around me and I didn’t know how to get out of it all.”
However, after some time passed, she found some light in that darkness, and decided to take her destiny into her own hands. She decided that one day, she would stand up for herself and reclaim her self-esteem.That day did come, and today, Jaya runs the outreach and care giving programmes at Hamari Muskaan, a Calcutta based NGO. She is working at preventing second-generation prostitution in the country, and truly changing lives. We are so proud of her and support all her endeavours a hundred percent!