While I was in Nepal in March 2012, I had the privilege of visiting PRC for the very first time and met Laxmi. She had just returned from court that day…
Laxmi grew up in a very poor family in western Nepal. At the age of 13, her father died and her mother ran off with another man, leaving Laxmi with a brother, age 6 and sister, age 8. Since her family was very poor, they lived in a very small thatch/mud house and her parents had done day labor to put food on the table. Laxmi had no means of income so she and her siblings resorted to begging for their food. A neighborhood man took note of their dire circumstances and one day came to Laxmi saying he knew of a babysitting job for a wealthy couple that she could do to bring in money to feed her family. He said he would take her there and she would be able to come home at night. Laxmi went with him but instead of going to a rich family’s home she ended up in a room in a city in India with 17 other girls. The first night they were given injections and in the morning they woke up naked, sore and not knowing how many men had used them during the night. This went on for 3 months. During that time, the traffickers were preparing false passports for the girls. After 3 months Laxmi was sold to Saudi Arabia. From there she was sold to Kuwait. While in the brothel in Kuwait, Laxmi became ill, so she was checked out by a doctor who did a blood test and found her to be HIV+. She was immediately kicked out of the brothel to fend for herself on the streets. An Indian man found her wandering and had pity on her. He paid for her ticket to return to India. However, when she arrived in India she still had no means to support herself so was living on the streets trying to find a way back to Nepal. A Nepali who knew about Peace Rehabilitation Center’s border monitoring office found her and made a phone call to the border office. PRC staff then went to India to bring her back to Nepal.
She was brought to PRC’s rehabilitation home outside of Kathmandu where she was given the opportunity to enter into the 6-month to 1-year program involving counseling, literacy and skills training in a family atmosphere. Laxmi still wasn’t well so she was taken to the doctor. Through blood tests they found out she WASN’T HIV+ but she was pregnant. One of the strongest aspects of PRC’s recovery program is the tender loving care shown to the girls by the staff. PRC helped support Laxmi with this difficult situation and gave her a safe environment in which to make a decision. Over the next 7 months, their demonstrated love slowly chiseled away at Laxmi’s deep-seated anger and pain. She decided she wanted to have the baby and give it up for adoption if possible. She learned how to read and write and the skills of jewelry making and knitting.
After the baby was born, PRC staff and Laxmi traveled to her village area to testify against the neighbor who trafficked her to India. Through her testimony, the man was sent to prison. While there, she searched for her brother and sister and found out they were living with a relative in another village.
Laxmi returned to PRC’s rehab program and she started to take an interest in caring for her baby. She has come to love her baby very much and wants to be a good mother. Laxmi continues today to live at PRC. She shares that she finally knows what it means to be truly loved and cared for because of the amazing support of the PRC staff.