She is back home now, within the safe confines of her house, in the arms of her loved ones. But the memories of the last few months continue to haunt her.
Often, she abruptly wakes up in the night, screaming as her family rushes to her side, comforting, reassuring her that there is nothing to be terrified about now.
At a tender age of 13, Reena (name changed) has gone through a series of atrocities – being kidnapped, trafficked, forcefully married, raped and tortured.
According to the social organisation that rescued her from the clutches of traffickers earlier this year, Reena, a resident of a Varanasi village, was sold for Rs 52,000 by a friend of her brother-in-law.
Curiously, her case not only defines the rampant sale and purchase of girls but also brings to light an alarming trend.
“Through our cases, we have noticed an emerging trend. Due to the declining sex ratio in western parts of Uttar Pradesh, girls are trafficked from various parts of the country, especially from other parts of UP, to this region,” said Shruti Nagvanshi, convenor of Voice of People (VOP) and managing trustee for People’s Vigilance Committee On Human Rights.
In response to Hindustan Times’ series on trafficking, Shruti writes, “We have even noticed cases where one girl is shared among all the boys of a family, only because there is scarcity of girls.” Reena’s case is also a similar one.
Her kin’s friend came to stay at her place and took her along on the pretext that her brother-in-law was waiting to meet her at some spot in the city.
“We were in an auto and when I realised that I was being taken towards the railway station and not to the place where he had promised me, I resisted. But he threatened to kill me and asked me to stay quiet,” said Reena in her statement.
She was taken to a room where she was locked for a week and raped each day by the man and his friends.
Thereafter, she was sold to another man who forcefully married her at a temple in Bulandshahr.
“He would rape me each day and I would yell in pain. When I cried and pleaded for mercy, he threatened to kill me. He used to say that since he had spent money to buy me, he had the right to do whatever he wanted with me,” she added in her statement.
What is shocking was that the atrocities were being carried out at her tormentor’s family home, with the consent of his kin.
Rescued, Reena now wants strict action against her perpetrators so that no other girl undergoes the nightmare she experienced at such a young age.