Swathi was 17 years old and in her first year of university in Mangalore, South India when she was targeted by trafficking criminals. One of the gang’s members intercepted her whilst she was travelling to university by bus and started to orchestrate a romantic relationship with her. He regularly accompanied Swathi on her way to university and after gaining her trust, invited her to visit his aunt with him. The invitation was a guise to bring Swathi to the gang’s illegal brothel where she was sexually abused. A CCTV recording of her abuse was used by the gang as blackmail. Under the threat that the video would be published online if she did not comply, Swathi started to miss classes and was forced into prostitution.
The recording was later used to threaten Swathi further and forced her into bringing her classmate, Suma, to the illegal brothel where the two girls were sexually exploited for the next 2 and a half months.
After being alerted to the girls’ situation, our Indian grassroots partner, Odanadi, helped bring about the arrest of 15 gang members responsible for the girls’ exploitation and abuse. Swathi and Suma received immediate counselling at Odanadi after their trauma and have now been safely reintegrated with their families. The girls also have access to Odanadi’s services should they ever need further therapeutic or legal support.
The funds raised from Yoga Stops Traffick support Odanadi’s work to rescue and rehabilitate survivors of sexual violence. We’d like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Odanadi for their tireless efforts to end such abhorrent acts of violence against women and children and their crucial part in bringing the perpetrators of such crimes to justice.
If you would like to make a donation to support survivors of human trafficking, sexual and domestic violence and child marriage, please click here.
*Please note that Swathi’s and Suma’s names have been changed and are not pictured to protect their identities.