Ramya's tale from struggle to survival

Some stories are hard to tell. Especially in the area of global justice, and particularly in the world of human trafficking and slavery. There are some stories that make your blood run cold and make your heart fall out of your chest. 

Ramya's stories is one of these difficult heart wrenching tales. We can't even tell you the whole story - but just enough to give you a taste of what she's been through and where she is now. Will you take the courage to read her story so that you know what kinds of situations people really face around the world today?

Ramya is a young woman from a poor family in Tamilnadu, India. She was promised a job in the city by an acquaintance. It's a common scenario, and one that is a tempting offer to anyone living in poverty, desperate for opportunity; desperate for a change or a way out... 

Ramya couldn't believe her good fortune that she has been offered this rare and prestigious chance. She would travel to a foreign city, be looked after, get a good job, start saving, and sending money back home to support her family. 


Unfortunately this is not the scenario that others had in mind for Ramya. The acquaintance that had conned her into the job quickly became an enemy, but one that she had no control over. Within days, he had drugged Ramya and sold her to a trafficker. She hardly had any clue what was happening to her, let alone had the knowledge or ability of what to do about it. 

For the next few days, Ramya was raped and tortured by the man that had purchased and trafficked her. The intention was to break her and to beat her into submission and defeat so that she would accept her new life as a sex slave. Eventually, the plan worked. Ramya had no choice but to work as a sex slave. For over a year this lifestyle continued - constantly abused and mistreated by clients and her trafficker.

Occasionally Ramya mustered up the courage to escape, but never managed to get out of there successfully. Her punishment each time she was caught was severe - beaten and raped again and again.

There were times, perhaps more common than not, where Ramya thought this ordeal would never end. A living nightmare where dawn never came... Imagine trying to face each day knowing there was no hope; no escape; no future. 

Thankfully, that's not the end of Ramya's story. One day, she was rescued*. Although she is now out of that situation, she still carries a lifetime of trauma, brokenness, and fear. It will take a long time and much support to help Ramya move on from this devastating chapter of her life.

Today, Ramya is back with her family who are supporting her as best they can. Together, they are trying to live their life anew - free from fear and filled with hope for a brighter tomorrow. Ramya, knowing how easily she was conned into the false allure of a job, is passionate about ensuring no other girl or woman would be caught up in that same world. She hopes that this ordeal is not repeated, but unfortunately we know that's not true. 

Globally, there are an estimated 4.8 million people (99% female) engaged in forced sexual exploitation, for an average period of 2 years**. Every single one of them has a story just like Ramya. Even once they are freed, they carry a huge burden of trauma and often have to start their lives over.

The Freedom Project works in rescue and rehabilitation to help victims process their trauma and find viable alternatives for employment and sustainable livelihoods. We also work in prevention so that young women like Ramya will be empowered to avoid the risks of trafficking. To support our work click here. 

*For more information on rescuing trafficked persons, read our recent post 'Operation Rescue'.
**Data from 2017 Global Estimates on Modern Slavery