A teenage girl has been rescued by her father after she was sold by a trafficking group, forced to marry twice and repeatedly raped.
The 14-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was saved after a horrific three months in captivity where she was forced to marry two different men, repeatedly raped, abused, beaten and starved while locked in a room every night.
She said: ‘I cannot digest it all. I can’t believe it has happened to me. This was the most awful time. I will never forget it.
‘I will never get my old life back now. It is spoiled. The only thing I have done over these months is cry. There were days when I felt like killing myself.’
The girl is from a poor family and they lived in a slum, in South Delhi, northern India.
That day she arrived home from school at around 2pm when her neighbour – a 26-year-old woman only called Meenu – invited her into her home.
‘She had been my neighbour for a while, I knew her, I had no reason to mistrust her,’ the teenager said. ‘She made me a drink. And then she asked me if I wanted to accompany her to the local temple, so I went along.’
At the temple they met with two men and they offered a Prasad – food that is a religious offering in both Hinduism and Sikhism – which she took as is usual. But that was last she remembers.
The next thing she can recall is waking up in a room with Meenu and a strange man.
That 21-year-old man, called Baljeet, 21, from Haryana, an area outside Delhi, was her new husband. He had bought her for Rs 90,000 (£1,000).
‘Thankfully this man was not a bad man,’ she explains. ‘He needed to marry so he bought me. Meenu had told him I had come from a bad family, where my mother beat me and my father raped me. But it was lies, I had a wonderful family.
‘I convinced him that I had a loving family back in Delhi and I had been kidnapped. He eventually said he’d take me home. I was overwhelmed with relief. I was so thankful. But he told Meenu and she went crazy. He shouted at her for telling lies, but she wouldn’t allow him to take me home. One night she turned up and took me away again. I was too terrified to fight.’
The teenager was sold a second time. This time she was dropped off at a man’s house and she overheard him paying Rs 300,000 (£3,500) for her.
This man – Vishal, 22 – beat and raped her every day. She added: ‘He kept me locked up all day and night. He raped me everyday. Sometimes, I was raped 10 times a day. He was a drug addict and used to beat me with sticks, belts, and slippers. I used to cook for him, clean his house, wash his clothes.
‘Whenever he left the house he locked me in the bathroom and I used to just sob.’
One-day last month, on November 20, she saw a very brief opportunity to escape.
‘I heard Vishal speaking to someone on the phone. He then went out but on this occasion forgot to lock the door. I just ran. I didn’t second guess. I rushed out and saw a shop with a shopkeeper.
‘I begged him to use his phone and I rang my father, I just broke down when I heard his voice. I had no idea where I was, but the shopkeeper gave my father directions and my father told me he’d come and get me. I waited, terrified, but Vishal saw me, dragged me back and beat me until I was almost unconscious.’
The girl’s father ran to the local police station and a team was quickly deployed. Officers have arrested the four key suspects in the case including Vishal and Meenu, as well as Tara Chand, 57, and Ram Kishore, 45.
Station Head Officer, Malkiat Singh, of Anand Parbat Police Station, said: ‘Vishal was arrested on the spot and has admitted his crimes. Then we arrested Meenu, Tara Chand and Ram Kishore once they were picked up from different locations. They have been charged and they will certainly face prison.’
The trafficking group have been charged with Sections 363 (kidnapping), 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage,) 366 A (procuration of minor girl), 376 (rape), of the Indian Penal Code.