Smita resides in a remote village of North 24 Parganas in West Bengal. The community is not very open with the concept of women going to work. When Smita a survivor of human trafficking decided to work for the rights of survivors of human trafficking, her whole family stood against her. They were scared, did not want to face any more risk but Smita stood firm in her decision.

Every day after completing her household chores, she started going to the CBO. The CBO is quite far away from her home and she has to walk nearly 3 km before she takes any transport to reach there. Smita’s family was not that supportive, this was the first time for her also when she took the decision of leaving home everyday for her work. She was a little scared. Most of the days when she walks the lonely stretch of 3 km alone she relieved her trauma. Few days later she noticed that two men from her village were following her. She apprehended that their intention was not right, they use to pass comments regarding her appearance, talked about her character, her experience of being a survivor of human trafficking.

Smita was not able to tell all these to her family, she was scared that her family will then stop her from her chosen path. She informed the social workers of the CBO and asked for help. The Social Workers made her understand that how important it is to take a stand and not to run away. Next day when the boys started following her again, she stopped, looked back to them and challenged them. With a trembling heart and strong expression on face she warned them to STOP. The boys were shocked with such a reaction, they had never seen any woman in their village to protest so openly. Few villagers who were passing by also stood behind Smita and supported her. The boys left and never came back. The villagers told this story in village and gradually people discovered another side of Smita.

Now no one in village now stigmatize her as a survivor of human trafficking. Her family is not scared to let her pursue her role as a survivor leader and value her voice from experience. Now, the women of the village ask her to stand beside them in crisis. To fight for others the primary task was to fight for ourselves.

Team Sanjog |
Monday , June 22, 2020