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*Meena’s story is based on true events. Due to the sensitive nature of trafficking cases, all names and identifying details have been changed.

 

You can help girls like Meena by donating to The ESOMAR Foundation in one of 3 ways:

Buy a ticket to our charity prize draw for EUR 30 Corporate Donation Enquiry EUR 3000 Research for Good Competition

 

 

Meena was born in the early hours. I remember holding her. So tiny, so beautiful.

She grew up fast. Bright, happy, always greeting me with a lovely smile.

But when she was twelve everything changed for us. We had the worst drought I ever remember. My crops were destroyed, my cows starved to death. I was struggling to feed my family.

We were desperate.

About this time, my wife and I became friends with Sumia, a woman from a neighbouring village. She would often visit and bring treats for Meena. One evening, Sumia suggested that I give Meena away to marry a friend of hers; a rich businessman in Mumbai. She said he would take great care of Meena. My daughter would live very well, have many meals and could send money back to the family.

I wasn’t sure. On the one hand, I adored my beautiful Meena and couldn’t bear to give her away. On the other, I was ashamed I could not provide for her.  She deserved a better life.  Sumia was very persuasive. Finally, I agreed. Sumia made all the arrangements. We said goodbye. It broke my heart but I expected to see Meena again very soon. Healthy and happily married.

Weeks passed. No word from Meena or Sumia. Weeks turned into months.  I was wracked first with guilt, then with terror.  Why hadn’t we heard from Meena?  What had happened to her?

Then one day, a lady came to the village. She asked if we’d seen someone called Mahirishi – a known broker for a sex trafficking gang in Mumbai. She showed us a picture. It was Sumia.

But Sumia was our friend. 

Or so we thought.

How could I have been so foolish? Somehow, I had to find my daughter and rescue her.

If she was still alive.

This is a story that needs to be told. It is brought to you by the ESOMAR Foundation, to highlight the brave work of My Choices Foundation and Final Mile in their battle to eradicate the sex trade in India.

By focusing on the fathers who are unknowingly selling their precious daughters into slavery, My Choices Foundation know they can disrupt the sex trade and save girls like Meena.

But, we need your help to do more, much more.

You can help girls like Meena by donating to The ESOMAR Foundation in one of 3 ways:

Buy a ticket to our charity prize draw for EUR 30

Corporate Donation Enquiry EUR 3000

Research for Good Competition

The ESOMAR Foundation is the Market Research industry’s way to help make the world a better place and we are proud to have helped with the advertising campaign that brought Meena’s story to light. The campaign was created free of charge by System1 Agency. AOL then donated $115,000 worth of media space to make sure that it was seen across the world.

Understanding the human condition, to better the human condition.

 

In collaboration with:

Finalmile

My Choice Foundation

System1