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Sex trafficking survivors celebrate their restored lives at home

On 30th September 2016, 15 survivors of sex trafficking, celebrated the completion of their journey to restoration with IJM’s rehabilitation programme. The survivors had been rescued from brothels in Mumbai by the police with assistance from IJM between the years 2009 to 2014.

This event, also known as Graduation Day, was organised in Bengaluru, commemorating the significance of returning home and beginning life again in freedom. As natives of Karnataka, each survivor was returned to her home state and culture, and continued to receive support from IJM and partner organisations in the state. “While returning back to their families may not be as easy, it has been found that being in a familiar cultural environment and community has not only hastened the restoration of the survivors but also ensured the success and sustenance of their restoration”, said Melissa Walavalkar, Director of Justice Solutions, IJM Mumbai.

The Graduation was made possible through collaborative efforts of dedicated social workers and various partner organisations that supported the survivors through their rehabilitation process. As the felicitated graduates stepped on stage, it was evident that each of their achievements was a result of great courage and determination executed by the survivors to overcome physical, mental and emotional trauma.

“The support, care and counsel I received from IJM and others has helped me overcome the pain I suffered. I am now a working woman— a teacher in a jewellery manufacturing unit”, beamed a grateful and happy Zeenat , one of the 15 to graduates.

Today, like Zeenat, each of the participants pursue either a career or academia. Eight of the graduates are married homemakers, two are home nurses, one works with children with special needs, and two work outside of Bengaluru in their respective villages. One of the survivors is studying to become a nurse and has ranked third in the 2016 annual examination.