One of the oldest religious cities in the world, Varanasi in northern India is considered the spiritual capital of India. It is also rife with massive unemployment, corruption, and is a rampant breeding ground for sex trafficking and unspeakable horrors.
A documentary released by Blush Originals in 2016 called “Gudiya”—the Hindu word for “doll”—exposes the dark underbelly of the Varanasi brothels and how young women and girls end up there. Viewed nearly 620,000 times since it was released, the documentary hopes to wake the world up to the torture and injustice that females as young as a few months of age befall when they are abducted or sold, eventually winding up in these notorious red-light districts.
Two young women, given the false names “Roohi” and “Priya” to protect their real identities, bravely recounted their tales of being abducted by men in the local human sex-trafficking industry. They were taken at ages 13 and 17 respectively, and recounted being beaten, raped repeatedly, and taken from their homes with little hope of ever returning.
The pair were luckily able to escape their situations but reiterated that their new lives are not ones that many women are fortunate enough to end up in.
Their stories are incredibly difficult to hear but provide a wake-up call for viewers.
“They raped me for two days,” one of the girls recounted. “I was brutally kicked and slapped, and sent to Mumbai. A police officer called Mr. Chaurasiya asked the boys to dump me in the car and send me to a place from where I cannot come back.
“If anyone wants to experience heaven and hell on earth, they should spend at least a day with one of these girls living in these brothels …”
The documentary is hosted by a pair of young filmmakers, Joyna Mukherjee and Aniket Tari, who use the opportunity to highlight a problem faced in their home country. The film serves to highlight the extreme injustice and rampant corruption taking place.
Guria, with the help of varanasi police, rescued a trafficked girl from varanasi. She was first trafficked to ahemdabad…
Meanwhile, there are courageous people fighting hard against the problem. Guriya Swayam Sevi Sansthan is an internationally supported organization to end sex trafficking and help rehabilitate the sex workers they rescue. The organization, which is run by a pair of fearless counselors named Ajeet and Manju Singh, is the one that rescued Roohi and Priya.
As Mukherjee and Tari explained, though, the brothels have been around for ages—and the high levels of corruption has become pervasive even in government and the police stations, who work hand in glove in the sex trade. There seems to be little hope to turn the tide.
“This is a topic which has been conveniently wiped under the carpet for long. We hope the film will at least make people think and talk about it openly,” said Mukherjee, speaking with The Daily Mail in 2016.
“Despite an endless search, we could manage to convince only two-three girls to come on the camera and speak about their life, as not many had the courage to talk about the life inside the brothels.”
For now, the hope is that organizations like Guriya will be able to rescue as many children of brothel workers as they can, as that is all they can hope for at present. Hopefully, the documentary achieves its goal to shed sunlight on these dark corners of the earth and inspire more courageous people to take action.