“I want to help other girls’’
Poonam Thapa was working in a restaurant when a customer suggested she should travel with her to Mumbai for better work. From a very poor family and with an alcoholic father, Poonam, 18, accepted. She believed she would be working in a handicraft shop but soon realised she had been sold by the woman into a brothel. Upon refusing to work with ‘clients’ she was tortured physically and mentally. She was forced to entertain up to 25 clients a day, until she was rescued two years later when police raided the establishment.
Poonam has been living under the care of Maiti Nepal for two years and is doing well in her studies. Her trafficker has been sentenced to 20 years in jail. In 2010 Poonam was selected to join the jury for the World’s Children Prize in Sweden, a programme that contributes towards a more humane world in support of children’s rights. She was instrumental in choosing their annual laureates, who inspire children all over the world to demand change. When asked what she would like to do with her future she is very clear, “I want to help other girls so they never have to go through the pain I did.”