Gangubai Shinde comes from a middle-class family. When she was fifteen, her parents forced her to marry a man twice her age. Her husband accused her of being unfaithful, and he began beating her. Although Gangubai realized that she was not safe living with her husband, she stayed with him for two years. During that time he tortured her and frequently tried to burn her. She became pregnant, but as a result of the abuse, she miscarried in the third month of pregnancy.
One day her husband took her to the city, where, unbeknownst to her, he met with a brothel owner and sold Gangubai to be a prostitute. Then he told her he had some work in a nearby place and he would come back to her after finishing the work. That night, a woman told Gangubai, “Your husband is busy with some other work in the city. So he has asked me to take you to my home and he has given some money to pay for your stay at this hotel.” Gangubai trusted her and left the hotel. After staying with her for two days Gangubai realized that things were not right. She asked the woman about her husband’s return. The brothel owner told her, “Your husband has sold you for 10,000 rupees [less than $200] in the market to turn you into a prostitute.” Gangubai broke down in tears and collapsed. The next morning when she awoke she found herself in bed with a strange person. This was like a terrible nightmare. One of the women there explained that she had to stay and had to give half of the money she earned to the brothel owner. Six months later, Gangubai had done business equaling more than the 10,000 rupees for which she had been purchased, but she was still unable to escape. Even if she tried to flee, she had no hope left for her life. So she stayed and continued as a prostitute. Continue Reading »