When seven women from Mumbai made a rare visit to the White House recently, gone were the vacant, gullible looks in their eyes. They had put their past behind them and picked up pieces of their lives by forging careers in craft and embroidery in the three years since they were rescued from prostitution by the Mumbai police. And for becoming such role models, they were felicitated by Steve Chabot, a member of the US Congress.
Sources in the police department said the women, between the ages of 18 and 23, were rescued during various raids in the past three years.
On the women’s arduous struggle from the prostitution dens to which they had resigned their lives to developing the ability to start anew, a senior police officer said, “Most of them are from different states. After being rescued, they were sent to rehabilitation centres and were taken care of by NGOs. During their rehabilitation, the NGO helped nurture their skills.”
BG Shekhar, deputy commissioner of police (enforcement), said the US felicitates women from across the world who have been able to beat the odds, thereby serving as an inspiration to countless others in similar situations. “The NGO, which was handling these women, sent their nominations to the US government, which then approved them.”
The seven women shared their experiences with the White House gathering. “They inspired us to believe that nothing is impossible if we set our minds to it. I wish that all girls who are forced to work as sex workers should become independent like them. This is probably the first time that such women from Mumbai have been felicitated by the US,” said Shekhar.
The women should expect more accolades to come their way. Sources said the Mumbai police also plan to felicitate them soon.