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Anwara Khatun and Rubina Khatun (names changed) sighed every time they saw reports of Narendra Modi's visit to Japan, especially when they saw the Prime Minister with his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe. After all, at a time when India and Japan are bonding in an unprecedented way, their story is an irony.
The two young girls, both in their early twenties, have a date with Abe's wife, Akie, in October, but their journey to the Land of the Rising Sun stands clouded by sheer apathy of government officials.
They don't have passports and none is ready to help. Anwara, a resident of Canning in South 24-Parganas district, and Rubina, a resident of Basirhat, in North 24-Paragans district are to be in Japan from October 3 to 11. Apart from meeting Akie Abe, they are to participate in a youth conference.
Japan-based international anti-trafficking organisation, Kamonohashi Project, has invited Anwara and Rubina to Tokyo to showcase a success story in rehabilitating trafficking victims. The Project had imparted training and provided financial help to these two girls from Bengal to help them become self-reliant and overcome the trauma of their tryst with the flesh trade.
Rubina told HT, "Just no one is willing to help us get passports and our addresses verified."
Nihar Ranjan Raptan of Goranbose Gram Bikas Kendra, an NGO in South 24-Parganas that supports Rubina, said, "We wanted a tatkal passport and approached the SDO too but nothing happened."
Ranjit Dutta of Barasat Unnayan Prastuti, an NGO that helps Anwara, said, "I even approached the district magistrate but to no avail."
Both Rubina and Anwara were lured away from their homes and sold to brothels in Pune, Maharashtra. While Rubina was rescued four years later, Anwara was rescued a few months after being sold. Both are now economically independent, thanks to the Kamonohashi Project.