‘Needalu’ showcases the possibility of a better life for the victims of sex-trafficing

Chinni loves to dance. As a teenager, just when she was completing her std IX, an ‘aunty’ showed her the tinsel town dream. “You can dance in movies and earn big money and support your parents,” she told me and I readily accepted the offer not knowing where I will land, recalls Chinni. She was 15-years-old and after that day she didn’t see her home and family for five years until she along with other girls were rescued from a brothel in Pune.

Sumati was rescued from another brothel in Pune. She was lured by a neighbour from her village in Kurnool. Sumati is now married despite being an HIV+. Sumati’s father died thinking their daughter was abducted and was forced to beg in a ‘big’ city. Her mother knows how her daughter escaped disgraceful death.

Now a shy Sumati, knows tricks in self defence and has also brought her younger sisters to the ‘enterprise’ where she stays along with other rescued girls. “I don’t want anyone to trick my sisters and make them meet my fate. I don’t event remember the faces of people I attended to in the brothel and how I became sick. I am on regular medication and will protect my family from the disease,” she says with confidence.

New beginnings

Several rescued girls like Chinni and Sumati are now with Prajwala, an anti human trafficking organisation and leading happy lives.

Prajwala is training them in several crafts, like carpentry, wielding, photo lamination work and beauticians course.

Chinni was taken by ‘the aunty and her aides’ along with several took the girls to Mumbai and beat them up without food until they agreed to put on garish make-up, flowers and “put on dresses in which we were not comfortable,” she says.

When they pleaded to let go, they were threatened with consequences of being shamed in front of their family and villagers. “We were guarded 24X7, so the option of dying was also not with us.

We couldn’t free ourselves and run away as no money was given to us, even the petty tip from the customers was searched and snatched from us,” recollects Chinni.

“Our past haunts us, and the sight of make-up makes us sick. We were forced to spend time with more than 10 men each night and not spared even in the worst days.

If we didn’t earn we were not given food and forced to attend to at least 5 extra ‘customers, the following day,’” recollects Sumati.

However, Prajwala productions, movie, Needalu, a 13-minute short film, directed by Rajesh Touchriver, a tale of the victims of sex trafficking didn’t touch some of these sensitive issues, despite being made with an attempt to inspire sex-workers to give up the profession voluntarily and lead better lives.