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The_sex slave_who_became_a_rescue worker

Therapist Sarah Gautam tells about 

The sex slave who became a rescue worker  

A former sex slave is today one of 3 Angels (one of the local partners Love and Hope's work with today) most effective employees at the border between Nepal and India, where she saves Nepalese girls on their way to India's borders.
- She is the most knowledgeable rescue worker we have. She knows everything about trafficking, says therapist Sarah Gautam.

Together with Sarah Gautam, Inblick visited one of 3 Angels sites for girls rescued from trafficking. On the second floor of the house she stops as she points at the walls where we stand in the meeting room, and tells:
- A girl, who was rescued five years ago from a brothel in Bombay, India, made these drawings.
- When she came here she had experienced a major trauma. She sat and listened but did not talk during our sessions. She wanted to talk, but could not. I met her once a week for four months, but she still could not talk.
Sarah Gautam asked a few different questions, showed her some pictures to attempt to introduce a conversation, but nothing allowed the girl to talk.
- One day I asked her written questions on a paper if she wanted to paint. She showed that she wanted to and I gave her paper and paint, but she did not want to use it. Then I gave her paper and pencil and then she started drawing. It was difficult to begin with, but slowly, slowly.
- Then she wrote on the paper: I would like to scream loudly, but I can’t. My voice can not, there's something in my throat that prevents me. There is pain, a lot of pain. I want to talk to you but I cannot. There is something buried, something that blocks my voice in my throat, Sarah Gautam remembers, pointing to her own throat.

Baby Picture

- I responded by typing on the paper: "If you want to draw something, I'll give you paper. Do not worry about talking. We can communicate by writing to each other. " Then the girl took the paper and wrote: "I'll draw something, I'm ready to draw". She took paper and pencil, and when she was drawing, she sketched the picture of a baby boy.
- I wrote on the paper: "Who is he? You draw a baby picture, but who is he? How do you remember him, how do you love him? " The girl had lost her memory and could not remember everything from her past. She wrote, "This is my son." When she wrote it, she said "My son."
- Her voice came back with the words "my son," says Sarah Gautam.
- When she said these words, she started crying for almost five hours. She cried, cried and cried and said, "My son, my son, my son ..." As an advisor, I cried with her and hugged her. She clung to me, did not want to leave me.

Barnbild
The girl took the paper and signed the picture of a baby boy. She wrote, "This is my son," and then started crying for almost five hours.

The tears are running

The tears flow down the cheeks and the voice bursts when Sarah Gautam continues:
- After almost four hours she began to form a story while she was crying. "My husband sold me to a brothel and took my child away from me. I do not know if my son is alive or dead. I hate my husband, but love my son", she said.
- She cried with this story for several hours. I asked her to take a glass of water, and she drank. I tried to make her calm and said: Even if it will take time, maybe we'll find your son one day. He may be somewhere; we will try to help you find him.
- We prayed together, it was so painful to hear her story. No woman can cry like when the child has been taken away from her and like when her own husband has sold his own wife to a brothel for money.


Work hard

Sarah Gautam describes how the brothel owner said to the girl: "I bought you for a lot of money, so you have to work hard."
She could have up to 50 men per night. When other prostitutes were ill, there could be even more. She worked for 5-6 years and was then considered consumed, she was almost 23 years old when she came to us.
Sarah Gautam tells us about the state of those who work in the brothel:
- They are alive, but their minds, feelings are not alive. When this girl came here she said: Give me a rope so I can finish my life. After a year, she instead said: Give me a job for 3 Angels so I can save girls from hell.
The girl is now working to free girls at the border between India and Nepal.
- She sits in one of the offices we have and is one of the most powerful rescue workers we have at the border. She knows everything about trafficking.

Orphan

Sara and Rajendra Gautam conduct a multifaceted work through 3 Angels to oppose prostitution. The threefold objective is to save, prevent and rehabilitate.
Rajendra lost his parents as a child - his father when he was four years old and his mother when he was eight. A missionary took care of him in the mid 1980s and sent Rajendra to India to give him an education.
There he saw how children were treated badly and he himself was beaten.
- Corruption was partly the problem. We were beaten, missing food and clothes as we came from poor conditions. I know how it works, children's rights were not so strong at this time.
When Rajendra grew up in India, he heard about how Nepalese girls were sold to brothels in India.
- I learned stories about the life in a brothel. I always got so angry about what these girls were exposed to, though I never had the opportunity to visit these places.
Rajendra's experience of having grown up at the orphanage released his interest for the Nepalese children. He has now been studying for a number of years at university and has written a thesis on trafficking.
- Various studies show that more than 200,000 Nepalese girls and women have been sold to brothels only in India. Other women are stuck in entertainment centers, circus operations, guesthouses or have been taken into dangerous areas of drug smuggling and other criminal activities, says Rajendra Gautam.

Flickor
- Various studies show that more than 200,000 Nepali girls and women have been sold to brothels in India only, says Rajendra Gautam, who assists his wife Sarah when she receives girls for rehabilitation.


Steal children

- The specific rescue operations means that we are placing ourselves in a number of places at the Indian-Nepalese border. The border is open so it’s easy to get from Nepal to India and vice versa. Many times, we see how Indian trafficking leaders steal our children and sell them to the brothels, explains Rajendra Gautam.
- There are many ways you can end up in trafficking in Nepal. It can be about tricking young girls into a better job, giving false hope and even fake marriages. At every border station, that is open for fourteen hours a day, we have five trained employees who work shift.
- At the border, in alliance with the local police and other local authorities, we managed to save or prevent 5 600 girls from getting into prostitution in 2017.
Rajendra Gautam describes how the situation has changed in recent years, trafficking from Nepal has spread to China and to Muslim countries in the Middle East like Dubai, but also to Malaysia by air.
- Our focus right now is to screen every person who crosses the border between Nepal and China, whether they are involved in trafficking or not. We also work with the Nepalese authorities to create procedures to prevent trafficking by air.

RUBEN AGNARSSON
ruben@inblick.se