*CAUTION: Graphic and Sensitive Information*
Bashita* comes from a poor family in Bangladesh where she was only educated through the third grade. Less than a month ago, a man Bashita knew trafficked her across the border to India by promising to marry her. Once she was transported to India, Bashita found not a wedding but a brothel awaiting her.
Manipulated into leaving her home country, moved across borders, and then forced into sex slavery in a rural brothel, 20-year-old Bashita was devastated and abandoned. She was living in constant pain and fear — forced to have sex with customers day and night.
Bashita’s abuse wasn’t just painful because of the repeated rape she had to endure. She had been in a car accident just three months earlier and had iron rods in her back and leg. Complying with customers’ demands was torture. But while so many girls caught in trafficking face months or years of slavery, Bashita’s life in the brothel lasted for 10 days. Last week, Bashita was found.
Our team of investigators received a tip from an informant that girls had been trafficked across the border to be sold for sex in the hotel-based brothel. The team investigated the brothel for about a month. After gathering sufficient evidence, they were able to conduct Operation ORCHID with local police.
In this operation, The Exodus Road and local police rescued two minor girls and two women from the roadside brothel last week, and helped arrest five sex traffickers and customers.
Like Bashita, many people caught in trafficking are lured in with promise of a job, relationship or other hope for the future. Her family still doesn’t know that she was sold into sex slavery.
Prostitution was especially horrific for Bashita because of the car accident and surgery she had been through three months earlier. By the time of her rescue, Bashita was in so much pain that she couldn’t walk or get in the police van. Social workers helped her collect her belongings and move to safety. Our investigators said they felt “broken” as she struggled in tears to get in the police van after her rescue.
Today, Bashita is no longer being subjected to constant pain and is recovering in a safe-home for care and protection. Our social workers will continue to follow up with her and support her as she takes her first steps into freedom.
The name Bashita means “freedom” in Bengali. Now that she has been brought out of slavery, Bashita can begin a new life of freedom.
*Bashita is a representative name. Photos used are representative.