Human trafficking. Forced labor. Sexual slavery.
All of these words tie into a severe injustice in this world — modern-day slavery.
It’s important to stress the word modern. Slavery is not a practice that has been left in the past. Around the world, women and young girls are in forced labor. At its worst, they are being used for sexual exploitation.
Young girls like Rekha.
Before she even reached her teen years, Rekha was married off, but it was simply a cover as she became dedicated as a “jogini” — a widely prevalent and traditional practice.
In India, the centuries-old jogini system is a form of sex slavery, or child marriage.
Although Rekha attended school as a child and completed grade seven, her parents struggled to support the family through various odd jobs. So she was married off to her older cousin and sent to live with him and his family.
Being a mere teenager, Rekha struggled to assimilate to her new married life. Her husband’s family was unkind to her and treated her like a servant maid. Even worse, she was expected to have relations with their son.
Due to this early trauma, Rekha began to have nightmares and was sent back and forth between her parents’ home and her husband’s home.
There was no safe place for her. She was alone.
She soon believed that her fate was destined to be worse than that of a street dog, as she saw her young life crumbling around her.
Thanks to your generosity and support, Dalit Freedom Network was able to reach out to Rekha and bring awareness to an issue that continues being unseen by many.
Rekha’s husband eventually married another woman and although her life didn’t change overnight, her parents came forward to stand by her and help her.
With your support, Rekha has a new respectable vocation, dignified social status and is now looking forward to a better future.
But she is just one of thousands who need our help.