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Nirmala Jena (25) of the village Chakabrahma in Baliapal was most certainly unaware of the fact that she was already in the trafficking trap of a dishonest man called Ram Das (35) who claimed himself hailing from Uttar Pradesh. For some times he was around the village telling people that he did the job of painting at a factory. The simple villagers never questioned his credibility. He studied well beforehand the precarious financial condition of Nirmala who had already lost her father, the only earning member of her family. Ram Das took the opportunity of Nirmala’s innocence and played mockery of her poverty. He started alluring the girl and her widowed mother of her future rosy days. Moreover, a growing girl like her was a burden to the already economically collapsed family. Nirmala’s mother Kamini Jena had no much scope to read between the truth and pretension in the sugar coated words of Ram Das when he begged her daughter’s hand for marriage. It was in February 2000, Nirmala and Ram Das were tied in the nuptial knot in the presence of her mother, sister and family friends and neighbourers . Immediately after the marriage both left for Chandigarh where he promised her a beautiful life of fullness and luxury. They lived in a rented house. Their conjugal life was in dotted lines for some days. But the reality soon noticed otherwise. She began to confront with inhuman treatment and torture from her so called husband who had already had a wife. He even forced her to work as a daily labourer in wheat cultivation, bean plucking work etc. She was given only two loaves of chappati and little curry in a day. At her slightest protest she had to bear foul words and physical torture from Ram Das. Once she even heard her husband talking to a man of selling her. Thus, every passing day was painful and unbearable for Nirmala who had not expected such miserable state of her life before. So, she decided to escape from the house furtively. One day while Ram Das was away for some work she left the house for another town in Punjab where an aged man took pity on her wretched condition and gave her shelter in his own house. The man and his family members were humane towards Nirmala and treated her like their own family member. Nirmala was often asked to inform her kith and kin at Baliapal about her where about. But she could not provide them any such accurate contact information. However, the gentleman kept on trying to establish some sort of contact with Nirmala’s relatives. After about one and a half years in the new house her brother-in-law Anadi Jena reached there and thus Nirmala managed to return home in April 2003.

Nirmala and her widowed mother now live with her elder sister and brother-in-law who have 4 sons and 2 daughters. Nirmala had received education up to class nine before she was being trafficked by Ram Das. She can read and write by herself. But can she lead a life of her own? She carries the blemish of having been immorally trafficked by an outsider. She has to bear with others’ insulting words. For a family of 9 members it is never an easy matter of survival in present day expensive living condition. Can her elder sister and brother-in-law will be burrying her disgraceful past in the oblivion and keep on providing her shelter in future too? Won’t she become more of a liability than an asset to their already struggling family?

The ordeal for poor Nirmala in remote Punjab was thus over but she is not yet free from the shackles of her family’s economic travails. She was highlighted by one of the electronic media as a trafficked girl and the news then spread like wild fires. Now the question is her future. Will she marry again? Who will come forward to her help? Who will extend her minimum support in the long struggle of her life? Or is she destined to suffer???

Coordinating Member


Lisa's picture

Nirmala's story

Thank you for sharing Nirmala's incredible story. This really tells a lot about how human trafficking relationships are established and how one woman was able to struggle to freedom. Does Nirmala ever speak out or write about her experiences?



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