Former athlete Nisha Shetti, 26, was forced into the flesh trade by poverty, unemployment and her husband’s death. After HT highlighted her plight, Nisha was granted bail on Tuesday. Excerpts from an interview with Ejaz Kaiser in the Raipur jail premises.
How did you become an athlete?
I grew up in Tejpur, Assam, where my father was a block-level officer with the government. I excelled in many sports at school and represented my college in athletics and volleyball. Although I did not complete my graduation, I participated in two national games as a volleyball player. I also won a high jump silver medal in 1996 in an athletics meet at Pune.
What forced you to move to Mumbai?
My sporting ambitions were shattered after the death of my husband, who too was a good football player. Both of us represented Assam. Despite being national-level players, we never got a job. In the absence of family support, I had to move to Mumbai to fend for myself.
How did you get trapped in a prostitution ring?
In Mumbai I was working as a sales girl with a cosmetics company. My daughter fell ill and I couldn’t meet her treatment expenses. I needed more money. A friend introduced me to some clients. Entering the flesh trade was the worst mistake of my life.
Do you regret your decision?
I shouldn’t have got myself involved in this. Now, I don’t wish to carry this stigma with me. After reaching Mumbai I’ll return to Assam. I’ve lost all respect in society. I know no one will realise my suffering.
How will you explain this to your five-year-old daughter?
She is the only reason I am living. All I want is to provide her good education.