Kavya

AGE: 29 years

Kavya was born into a Devadasi community in Sindhi village, Bijapur, Karnataka. The Devadasi community is known for using young girls in temple prostitution, and it is tradition for a family to surrender a girl child to the Devadasi temple. Kavya’s parents used to work as farmers and she never attended school because of their poor financial condition. Kavya has three sisters and two brothers.

Kavya was brought to serve at the temple at the tender age of 6 or 7. These children were sexually exploited for many years by the priests and men who came to the temple. The children were kept in caves near the temple which was situated in the interior area of a jungle. There were more than a hundred children with Kavya in the cave where she was kept. She said the priest used to shave all of the children’s heads to make them look ugly and would not allow them to go anywhere. Many poor children had to face these brutalities in the cave near the temple. Kavya stayed in the cave for more than 4 years before being rescued in a raid by the police. Kavya was sent to a home by the police but she ran away from there and went back to her family in the village.

At the age of 11, Kavya’s neighbour asked her if she wanted to work in the city where she would be paid well. She said yes and went with the neighbour who took her to Pune’s Budhvarpeth red-light area where she stayed until she was 19. There was a raid by police in the red-light area and Kavya was rescued. Kavya again returned to her village. Her family married her to a man in the village and they had a child. But because of poor family conditions, Kavya left her husband. Another neighbour asked her to go to Turbhe in Mumbai where she would get a good job, but Kavya was again sold to the red-light area. Kavya was sold many times into multiple different brothels in Mumbai. She was eventually rescued by YouCanFreeUs in 2018 from Turbhe, red-light area, Navi Mumbai.

Kavya is completing a basic literacy course and life skills training at YouCanFreeUs. Kavya dreams of becoming a beautician. She also is good at embroidery and thread work. She is part of the in-house tailoring course at YouCanFreeUs. Currently, she is enrolled in a one-year apprenticeship to learn hand embroidery and fine crafts. After getting a good job she wants to support her family financially. At YouCanFreeUs, Kavya is experiencing freedom and love that never imagined. Kavya now has the confidence to be herself and the freedom to pursue her dreams. She is thankful to YouCanFreeUs for rescuing her and giving her a new life.