Trafficked at 10, victim reconnects with family after 12 years aided by Duars Expressmail

Gangtok, 15 Apr:

The web of human trafficking has snared many innocents, and it is only very rarely that these stories end on a happy note. Rarer still are family reunions after nearly a decade and a half of forced separation after a child was trafficked so young that she does not even remember the names of either her village or even parents. But there is such a story to share today. And in this particular instance, the world wide web which the traffickers have misused on several occasions, also provided the connections which made a reunion possible.

A girl, let’s call her G, was kidnapped twelve years ago from the Alipurduar district of West Bengal back in 2007. She was barely 10 at the time. She was reportedly taken to Sikkim and then Kalimpong, perhaps as a domestic servant at homes there.

Thrust into an alien environment, the trauma was deep and her memories of home faded as she found herself among people and languages she was unfamiliar with and of having no means or wherewithal to flee home.

But she did manage to escape. Since she no longer knew where home was, she ended up in Bangalore and found work in a home there.

Earlier this year, now all of 22 and with access to social media, she began efforts to find her home and family, and ended up discovering the Duars Expressmail Facebook page.

She connected with the admin, journalist and anti human trafficking activist Raju Nepali, and sought his help. She narrated her story and shared that all she remembered of home was a village named Dhola basti. She did not even know where it was.

With just the name of the village to work with, Duars Expressmail began its search for the place and the girl’s family, informs Mr Nepali.

“And by God’s Grace, within a few hours we confirmed that the girl was from Samuktala, Alipurduar, West Bengal. Soon, we also learned more about her family," he shares joyously.

On 13 April, at 8 o'clock in the morning, G managed to speak with her mother.

Mr Nepali adds that G was thrilled at having connected to where she belongs and now looks forwards to new and happier days ahead. On a sad note though, in the twelve years that she was torn away from her family, her father had passed away, not knowing what had happened to his daughter.