The trial against the traffickers is still ongoing, but Kolkata’s courts have already shown Nasima she matters. They have awarded her more than A$20,000 in compensation at various stages of her journey. And while these record-setting funds can never truly heal her painful past, for a strong young woman like Nasima, they are helping spark a braver and bolder new future.
Horrified and now 2,200 kilometres from home, Nasima was taken to an unassuming home and left under the control of a man who planned to sell her for sex.
“It was a house with two rooms,” she remembers. “I was kept imprisoned in one of the rooms. The doors and windows were locked ... The person who sold me lived there with his wife, three sons and two daughters. They were not allowed to talk to me.”
“When the first customer approached me, I said to him,
The customer went back to speak with the owner. Then I was beaten up and raped by the customer. There was a lot of blood.”
Nasima lived in this cycle of rape and abuse for the next year. She tried to escape several times through an open window, but hurt herself and was quickly recaptured. That’s when the physical violence escalated.
“When they pressured me to engage in sexual activities, I would refuse and they would beat me up with a stick. My legs swelled up from the beatings,” she describes sorrowfully. “I thought I would die there. I would never see my family again, or even see the sun.”
It was after one of these severe beatings, in December 2015, that Nasima’s plight finally changed.
Exhausted from the frequent abuse, her young body suddenly fell sick with a high fever. Her captors were forced to take her to a Delhi hospital. But when a doctor told them Nasima’s injuries required surgery, they abandoned her.
“The police also visited me … enquiring about what happened and how I ended up in Delhi. I told them everything,” she remembers. “A week later, [the pimp] came to look for me. I took this opportunity to tell the police this was the family that was torturing me, forcing me into sexual relations. The police listened, and they arrested those people at the hospital.”
IJM became involved in Nasima’s case when police asked our team to help with the legal case and with her transition back to Kolkata.
“I met Nasima for the first time at the hospital,” remembers IJM’s Babita Simon, who has provided her ongoing aftercare support. “She was so weak that she could barely stand upright for more than a minute.”
IJM worked with a local NGO to support Nasima’s recuperation in the hospital and helped contact her family back in Kolkata. Nasima’s mother flew out to stay with her until she was strong, and they returned to Kolkata together in January 2016.
Nasima has experienced this kind of compassion and support from many levels of her state’s public justice system, with state leaders stepping up to support her recovery in a major way.
After her legal case began garnering attention, Nasima has received generous compensation from the state’s Chief Minister, from the Ministry of Home Affairs, and from a local court. To date, she has received nearly 1,000,000 rupees (about A$20,000) to help her heal. The interim compensation she was awarded in court (300,000 rupees – about A$6,220) is the highest IJM Kolkata has seen in one of our sex trafficking cases.
As she waits for the trial to conclude, Nasima has focused on rebuilding her life in freedom and helping other girls stay free. Her family has welcomed her home with open arms and without any stigma about her experience—which not all survivors enjoy. Her medical treatment for managing HIV is covered by the government, so Nasima has used part of her court compensation to construct a new house for her parents. She’s saving the rest to invest in her education and, someday, on her wedding.
Nasima’s IJM lawyer, Sharon Madame, shares,
With a desire to help others, Nasima has spoken to groups of other teen girls in nearby villages about the risks of human trafficking and how to stay safe. She has also shared her story as part of a local television program. She says, “I do my part and, if they are warned, it’s good for them … It feels nice when I see them listening to my story.”
Babita shares happily, “Look at her today—so confident, sharing her story so boldly. She refused to give in to fear, but kept pressing forward toward victory.”
When asked about her journey, Nasima smiles, “It is long and there is more to be done, my case is still on trial, but I am very patient.”
International Justice Mission is a global organisation that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world. IJM partners with local authorities to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems.Find out more
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