Meena Bibi

Age: 29 years

Meena was a very mischievous child growing up. Her parents moved from Assam to Howrah, West Bengal, when she was very little. She lived with her parents and 6 siblings in West Bengal. Except for Meena and her younger brother, all her other siblings were married and lived away. Meena’s familywas very poor as her father was a daily wage laborer and her mother a housewife. The entire household depended on the meagre earnings of her father.

When Meena was 11 years old, her mother fell very sick and this led to a financial crisis for her family. There was no money for her mother’s treatment so Meena thought of taking up some work to support the family. One of her neighbors took advantage of the situation and offered Meena work in Mumbai. Helpless and vulnerable, Meena took the offer and went with her neighbor to Mumbai. In Mumbai, she was sold for 1.6lakh rupees into a brothel in the red light area of Sanpada.

At the tender age of 11 Meena watched other women at the brotheldress up to meet their customers and she was made to do the same. Meena was shocked. She had no idea what to do. She was scared and just kept crying.

When she refused to serve customers, the brothel owner beat her up and locked her in a room, not giving her food. Out of fear, Meena agreed to attend to customers in the brothel. Being very young, customers were willing to pay a high price for Meena. One day Meena found a chance to escape from the brothel. She decided to run back to her village in Howrah. On the way she met a police man who assured her he would help, but instead of taking Meena to the police station, he took her to a different brothel in Turbhe red light area in Mumbai and sold her there. In this brothel, Meena was kept in an isolated dark room for more than 7 years where she did not see sunlight for all those years.

As time passed Meena started to accept life as it came. As an adult she was allowed going out and one day Meena decided to go back to her village to see her mother. After seeing the deplorable condition of her family she returned to the red light area. Meena did not know any other way to earn money. For her, this work was the only way to make money and live her life, so she continued this work. After some years Meena fell in love with one of her costumers and started living with him and do the sex trade. She got pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl. However, after the birth of her daughter, Meena’s husband started treating her and child very badly. He would physically abuse and harm them. Meena and her baby girl both fell sick and were helpless. That’s when You Can Free Us rescued Meena and her baby girl from the Turbhe red light area.

Meena is happy that she is out of the dreadful life that she was living. After living a life of abuse and exploitation, Meena can now breathe freely. After living in darkness for so many years, she is happy to be in the light. She feels cared for and looked after at You Can Free Us.

After having her childhood taken away from her, Meena almost started life from the beginning at You Can Free Us. She learned to look after herself and also care for her baby. She is now a loving mother to her 4 year old daughter and dreams of living a life of dignity and self respect. She has done a tailoring course and wants to have her own tailoring shop one day. She was shifted to Bangalore. YCFU found a job for Meena at a residential school as a caretaker and her daughter is been admitted in residential English medium school which holds CBSC syllabus. Mother and child both doing well as per last week’s update.