I have some friends who live in a third world country, running an English school, and when I learned that this is really happening, still in this decade, it made my heart ache.
These two stories are vastly different yet completely the same. Both of these girls have had a hard life before being sold but then it got infinitely harder. Both had family’s that couldn’t afford to raise them but Mother’s who loved them dearly. Unfortunately women in this part of world really don’t have a voice and that in itself is unthinkable to most of the women in the rest of the world.
SOLD – This is a story of a girl “Lakshmi” who is sold into slavery. She was raised in a poor family from Nepal in the Himalayan Mountains. Her Mother is bound by generations of traditions and a stepfather who gambles and drinks every cent they have away.
She’s told by her stepfather that she’s going to the “big city” to be a maid for a rich family to help support her family. She’s so excited, and believes it to be a privilege to help. Her stepfather sells her for 800 rupees. In today’s economy this would equal to $13.36 in US dollars. But, then she’s sold again, twice, for a price of 10,000 rupees ($167) and finally ends up at a place called “Happiness House”! However, she realizes all too late that there will be no happiness for her, she’s been sold into prostitution. She’s beaten and abused by a woman she know as Mumtaz. This is a horrible fate for anyone, let alone someone who’s only 13!! Finally an American comes to visit.
I AM NUJOOD, AGE 10 AND DIVORCED – She lived in a little village with her parents and several siblings. Happy being a child but knowing her family is very poor. Her Father arranges her marriage to the neighborhood delivery boy. He promises the family he won’t touch her until she’s older. After traveling for hours to her new village, shels abused by her husband night after night, beaten and assaulted. No one will help, her mother-in-law and sister-in-law only encouraged his behavior by saying it’s her duty to be a good wife.
After days of crying and begging to go back home, he finally gives in takes her back for a visit. She receives no help, even from her own father, but after spilling her heart out to her father’s second wife she now knows what she must do. She escapes to the city and goes straight to the court house. It’s unheard of women asking for divorce, especially someone who’s only 10. After all, the legal age to marry in her country is 15.
I haven’t told you the rest of either of these stories because I don’t want to spoil the ending. Both of these stories are about incredible young ladies being held against their will, living in horrible conditions but still with a will to live. Not only that but with a will to find help and stand up for themselves. Which, in the area of the world where they are from, is pretty unthinkable. Even today, women are still considered below their husbands, and are treated miserably.
I hope you have the chance to read these books. They’re enlightening, full of emotion and are truly stories of endurance and great faith!!~Bam