When Pinky was in the 11th grade, her mother, a commercial sex worker, tested positive for HIV. She had been sick for several weeks, but they assumed it was a seasonal illness and that she would get better soon. This HIV diagnosis was devastating for Pinky’s mother not just from a health perspective, but it also meant that she could no longer provide for the family or afford to send Pinky to school and pay the required fees.
Pinky dropped out of school and began to take care of her mother during the day. Her mother, though, knew that Pinky could not stay at home very long. The same traffickers who forced Pinky’s mother into the sex trade as a teenager would soon notice that customers were refusing her and she was bringing in very little income for them. She knew they would force Pinky into the sex trade to make up for the lost income. In fear for her daughter’s life, she told Pinky that they had to leave.
She didn’t want Pinky to suffer at the hands of traffickers in the same way that she had or be forced into the sex trade and face years of abuse. Her daughter was smart and a good student and, if she could just find someone to help her, she knew that Pinky’s future could be different than her own.
Members of a local non-government organization (NGO) visited their town a few weeks later and handed out information about skills-training programs and medical care available for women currently in the sex trade. Pinky’s mother knew this was her chance. And, with the help of this NGO, Pinky and her mother went to one of Sudara’s partner sewing and skills-training centers. Pinky is now living in safety in on-site housing and enrolled in cosmetology courses. She wants to start her own beauty salon after graduation.
“The people here gave me confidence and communication skills along with dignity and meaning to my life.” – Pinky
Thank you for continuing to invest in and empower women like Pinky to create a new life for herself and her family.
*Photo and name have been changed for identity protection and personal safety