A trafficked woman has reunited with her biological family in Arunachal Pradesh after 12 long years.
Her return, which took place a day before the International Women’s Day, was facilitated by Arunachal Women Helpline (WHL-181), which had received information about a survivor of child trafficking and domestic violence in an area under the Papu Hill police station on February 19 this year. She was provided with protection, counselling and shelter at Swadhar Greh (Short Stay Home) run by a welfare body.
The case was forwarded to Arunachal Pradesh State Legal Service Authority (APSLSA) which took up the matter to ensure that she was reunited with her biological family.
According to the woman’s statement, her father was lured by a trafficker with false promises of education for her when she was just eight and her step mother sold her to a person in Assam. Within a few hours the trafficker took her to Banderdewa on the on the Arunachal-Assam border and sold her as a domestic help to a local.
She was resold by the local person after just a few weeks. A few years later the person who had “bought” her took her to a jungle, raped and proclaimed her as his second wife.
The man, a father of five children from his first wife, forced her to do all the household chores. The woman was made to look after the five children, besides the two she gave birth to.
Tortured beyond endurance she sought freedom and decided to live on her own terms. “She had since been assaulted and prevented from going outside to meet people or use social media platforms, a WHL activist said.
The opportunity for her to break free came during a festival. She filed a complaint against her tormentor at the local police station.
All she could say about her past was that her family members used to call her Yana and her elder brother’s name was Akramul. With some effort, she recalled the name of her village in Assam, the WHL activist said.
Her case was immediately forwarded to the One Stop Centre at Lakhimpur, which helped locate her family, he said.
The family reunion was heart-warming, the activist said.
Counselling was subsequently provided to her in the presence of her husband and family, who were asked to recognise their marriage under legal guidance and supervision of the WHL project manager. An agreement was provided APSLSA legal counsel as the woman had agreed to reside with her husband.
The WHL-181 has resolved 1,016 of the 1,104 cases it has registered since 2016. These include 240 cases of violence against women and children since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.