Karuna, a distant relative, often visits Bindu, who is 12, and her mum. She’s always suggesting to Bindu that she should travel to new places. Bindu says no, but she’s curious about what she hears.
When Bindu gets bitten by a dog, Karuna happens to drop by.
“I’ll go with you to the hospital to get a tetanus jab,” she says.
On the way home after the vaccination, Karuna says:
“Your mum is always scolding you. How do you put up with it? There’s only one boarding school here in Nepal; let me take you there so you can get an education”.
Later that same day, Bindu goes outside when she hears Karuna calling for her. Karuna pulls Bindu to her and covers her mouth with a shawl as she approaches. She drags Bindu with her through a gate. When they get to a bridge, a strange man is waiting there.
“He’s going to take you to the boarding school,” explains Karuna.
The man takes Bindu to a hotel room. Before she falls asleep, the man’s phone rings. It’s Karuna, and she wants to speak to her.
“I’ve told your mum that you’re safe.”
“I want to go to mum,” replies Bindu.
“What are you going to tell her?”
“If you do that, I’ll kill you and your family,” warns Karuna.
The man drinks alcohol and his snores keep Bindu awake all night. The next morning, he tells Bindu to get into a taxi. They travel the whole day and the day after.
A dog bite was what started the whole thing, when a woman she knew lured Bindu away from her home. This dog is friendly though.
When they arrive in Delhi in India three days later, Bindu is taken to a house where she meets Karuna’s sister. When she enters a room, Bindu sees lots of girls, some of them wearing hardly any clothes.
“What are these girls doing here?” asks Bindu.
“They sell clothes and do this and that,” is the response.
When Bindu asks if she’s at a school, as Karuna promised, the other girls laugh at her.
“All the girls who sleep here work at our brothel,” explains Karuna’s sister.
“Aren’t you ashamed of selling girls like this?” says Bindu when she realises where she’s ended up.
“I haven’t killed anyone, so why should I be ashamed?” replies the woman. Soon there’ll be another 30 new girls arriving.
Please, let me go home,” begs Bindu in tears.
“There’s no way we’re letting you out of here,” answers Karuna’s sister.
Bindu is moved to another building, where for a month she looks after the young children of the older girls and women. Every day Bindu is given a drug, but she has no idea why she is given it, and Karuna’s sister wants to make her grow faster so she looks older.
Bindu is taken to yet another building that Karuna’s sister is also responsible for. Bindu is kept locked in a room as the days go by. She cries daily and misses home, but she no longer hopes to be free.
In Nepal, Bindu’s mum went to the organization Maiti Nepal and told them her daughter had disappeared. Maiti, which fights against the commercial sexual exploitation of children, contacts an Indian organization and the police in Delhi.
When she’s been in the room for a week, Bindu suddenly hears raised voices outside the door, which soon opens. The police and some other people she doesn’t know are standing there. Then everything happens very quickly. Bindu’s clothes are packed in a bag, and before long, she’s sitting in a car on her way home to Nepal.
Bindu’s family are very poor. Since her rescue she has been living with the organization Maiti Nepal so she can go to school, but her mum Rajita visits her there.
When she arrives back in Nepal, Bindu gets to stay at Maiti Nepal’s sheltered home for children. She hasn’t been at school much before, so she starts in first grade at Maiti’s school Teresa Academy, along with some younger children. But her eagerness to learn means she soon moves up to second grade.
Most of Bindu’s classmates are children with no parents, or other poor children living at Maiti’s home.
The man who abducted Bindu
has been arrested and charged with human trafficking, but has not yet been convicted. Although Bindu managed to be freed before she was subjected to any assault, the man will get a long prison sentence.
On the WCP Child Jury, Bindu represents children who are victims of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children.
Seeing mum again.
Telling the police.
Painting and singing.
Social worker and help others.
When I was taken to India.