SIALKOT: A 14-year-old girl on Monday sought refuge at a shelter home after escaping from a brothel in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) where she was taken after being kidnapping,.
Sonia told the media that she was kidnapped in childhood by a woman named Cheeno and her husband, Akram. She said that the couple took her to the brothel near Chowki Adda in Muzaffarabad, AJK.
About her escape from the brothel, she said that it was facilitated by Shabana, an employee at a nearby football stitching centre, who helped her board a Sialkot-bound passenger bus. She said that she had befriended Shabana over the years she spent at the brothel.
“We met periodically. She knew how much I abhorred the place and how desperately I wanted to run away. Finally, I got a chance Sunday night and rushed to Shabana’s place who took me to the bus station,” she said.
The girl could not recall anything about her family or her house. She said she was too young at the time she was kidnapped.
She said that she had to put up with frequent beatings on her refusal to become a prostitute.
“They would beat me up every now and then, but I never gave in to their demands,” she said.
The female staff at the shelter home told the media that the girl had torture and burn marks all over her body. The marks, they said, suggested that she had been given electric shocks at the brothel.
Sonia said that there were 13 more girls at the brothel. She along with these girls was kept in chains most of the time, she said.
She asked the authorities concerned and the police to take action against the owners of the brothel so that the rest of the girls could be freed.
The shelter home that provided shelter to the girl is operated by The Child Rights Committee of SPARK, a non-governmental organisation.
Muhammad Arslan Khan, the district coordinator of The Child Rights Committee, announced that his organisation would provide free legal aid to the girl.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2010.