a resident of South 24 Parganas, West Bengal, liked to go to school and study. Unfortunately her father was a daily wage labourer and his wages were no where near enough to support his family of seven daughters and two sons. Thus at the age of 14, Myra had to leave school and abandon her education to start working and support her family.
Once she was made to drop out from school, she and her family began looking for employment opportunities for her, which were hard to come by in her village. One day her family got an offer to send Myra to Mumbai, where many of her neighbours apparently found good opportunities in the fishing industry. Thus young Myra left her home for Mumbai with one of her neighbours whom she used to affectionately call Chachi.
Initially she was doing well and earning Rs. 7500 a month and was even able to send Rs. 3000 to her family for the first two months. But then suddenly there was no trace of Myra.
After desperately searching for her and being unaware of her whereabouts for more than two years, one day Myra’s father got a call from an unknown person and came to know that Myra was now working as a prostitute in Lucknow.
Upon hearing this Myra’s mother rushed to the local Kultali Police Station. At that time the assembly elections of Bengal were approaching, which kept the police force largely busy and the pleas of Myra’s mother fell on deaf ears. Besides, the police avoided taking action claiming that Myra had been trafficked from Mumbai, and was “not their problem”.
At this point, MISSING’s local NGO partner Samadhan intervened and insisted that the Kultali police take action. Eventually the Bengal police and Samadhan reached Lucknow, only to discover that Myra has been moved elsewhere. After a gruelling few weeks of searching for her, they discovered her at the Basti district in UP and rescued her.
Myra moved back in with her family, but her past continued to haunt her. The meagre earnings of her father, still put pressure on her to earn for her family again, but she was too scared to take up employment, after her bitter experience. Further, her father is not able to accept her and the social stigma that has come with her return.
Who should be held responsible for the grievous crime committed against a young child of only 14?
The family that wasn’t able to provide for her?
The flaccid police facilities that were too preoccupied to look for her?
The lack of aids for the poorest of the poor?
The most powerful change comes from below. We all need to take a stand against this social evil. It is up to US to stop this from happening to another girl. We need to understand the role that we play in creating a demand for girls. We need to collectively cry #Abolitionist and #EndSlavery. We need to make our voices heard, so the government can take action.
Do something today to combat trafficking, sign a petition, spread awareness by sharing a story, support the efforts of people on the ground.
Join the movement. Together we can prevent girls from going MISSING.