Prerana ATC | Fight Trafficking

Women’s Week 2020: The Right to Motherhood

Every woman has the right to live with dignity and without discrimination. They have a right to be treated equally in society, regardless of their background or where they come from.

In our run-up to International Women’s Day, we bring to you stories of the women and girls we work with who are fighting for their rights despite the odds stacked against them. We share these stories as a reminder that there is still a long way to go but we are on our way.

Today we share Rekha’s* story! A journey of fighting for the right to provide her children with the care, protection, and safety they require. 

Irrespective of her background, Rekha and every other woman has the right to motherhood.

Didi, I went to the baccho ka court (the Child Welfare Committee often referred to as the Children’s Court) last week. I was hoping to enroll Renuka* and Rahima* into a hostel (women refer to Children’s Home as a hostel).
Renuka is 12 years old and Rahima is 8 years old. Both my girls go to school and also stay at Prerana’s rat ka school (mothers often refer to Prerana’s Night Care Center as ‘rat ka school’). Every day the girls come to meet me after school and before they go to Prerana. One day when Renuka was in my ghar (the brothel the Rekha* lives in), I saw my aadmi behave inappropriately with her, he was being too ‘friendly’ with her.

That was the moment I knew my children weren’t safe in the area. Didi, I have the bimari (due to the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS, the women refer to it as ‘bimari’. Rekha was HIV+) I have been very ill this year, it might get worse. I need to plan for my girl’s future. I met with the Prerana didi’s and asked them to help me with enrolling the girls into a hostel. Prerana’s didi explained that they will have to tell the court that I do dhanda and that I have the bimari, I agreed but made them promise that my girls wouldn’t find out that I am HIV+. The didi’s also sat with Renuka and Rahima to explain about the hostel. Renuka was happy but I could see that Rahima was sad.

Prerana’s didi’s accompanied me and my daughters to the baccho ka court when we reached there were two Sab’s (male members of the CWC) sitting there. Prerana’s didi, introduced me to them and gave them the letter. Both the Sab’s looked at each other and said: “Why do these women have children if they can’t take care of them?” Didi quickly intervened but they asked her to leave the room and wait outside. I was there alone with my daughters, I was uncomfortable.

“Hope you use condoms with your customers.” one Sab said, my daughters were still in the room. I asked the girls to go out and wait with didi. They then asked me if I have been sterilized adding “You can’t keep having children like this and then dumping them on us when you can’t take care of them. Why don’t you put your children up for adoption if you can’t take care of them? Why do women like you have children, we don’t understand. We will admit your children on the condition that you get sterilized.” I told them I had done the procedure and was sterilized, but didi, they didn’t believe me and asked for proof.

I was so angry with them but I was also scared, what if I said something to them and what if they don’t enroll my children into the hostel, what will happen to my girls? I have to put their safety and future before me. I love my daughters very much, I want them to have a future, not like mine. I want them to get a good education and be safe.

I left that room and informed Prerana’s didi, she quickly intervened and spoke to the Sab’s. My daughters were enrolled in a hostel, I didn’t have to show proof of my procedure. I get to meet them once a month at the hostel and spend a few hours with them. I also deposit Rs. 500/- into both their bank accounts every month.

Didi, I just have one question, is there a law that says only the rich can have children?


Prerana’s Institutional Placement Program along with our Post Rescue Operation and Sanmaan team host and facilitate a first – of – its – kind Convergence Meeting between the CWC and representatives from CCIs, NGOs, Childline, District Child Protection Unit (DCPU), etc. At one such meeting, we discussed the above incident, emphasizing the importance of speaking sensitively with both women and children.

Flarantxa Pereira
Flarantxa Pereira

Flarantxa joined Prerana in January 2018 and works closely with documentation of many Prerana projects. She is also an integral part of Prerana’s Communications team. Apart from this, she also works closely on a field project with students in a low-income school in Mumbai. Flarantxa aspires to inspire change through thoughtful stories and impactful design.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on telegram
Share on email
Related Posts
Cell Phones – Tools of Liberation or Escalated Control for the Red Light Areas

The blog post was first published on Dr. Pravin Patkar's Blog 'Expressions'. The post sheds light on the impact and Read more

Prerana’s Outreach: Protecting Vulnerable Children in Mumbai’s Red Light Areas

Trauma cannot be addressed as a standalone problem. It needs to be addressed holistically, keeping in mind various experiences and Read more