Udaipur (Raj): Life had become hell for Sugna Kumari four years ago as the 15-year-old girl from a remote village here had to work in a Bt cotton field in Gujarat through the day and forced to have sex in the night. The plight of Damini, 16, was no better. She was often beaten for not agreeing to having sex with the middleman who duped her and brought to the neighbouring state.
These are not just one-off stories of bonded labourers, the two tribal girls of Rajasthan being victims of a larger racket in which more than 1,00,000 children were being trafficked from Udaipur district and its neighbouring areas to south Gujarat to pick Bt cotton which needs nimble fingers. “Some men told me that they will give me lot of money for the work. A big car came to my village that night and took me and my friends to Gujarat,” says Sugna.
“But things were totally different there. We were forced to work the whole day and kept in a small tent near the field with some 20 inmates including boys. They even forced us to have sex and those who opposed were beaten up,” she recalls. “Like these children, there were many girls who had to go through this misery in Gujarat every year and the condition for boys there was not smoother either,” Dola Mohapatra, executive director of ChildFund-India, which is working in rescuing and rehabilitation of such children in the region, told PTI. “They had to wake up early in the morning and work in muddy fields laced with pesticides. Moreover, they had to suffer verbal and physically abuse if they falter in their work.”