Baby girl Falak has tragically lost her battle for life after a brave fight against severe injuries suffered in horrific circumstances.
The two-year-old was first brought to a hospital in New Delhi by a young girl claiming to be her mother, but in reality her mother and two sisters had fallen prey to human traffickers. According to Zee News of India, Falak's mother was tricked into a second marriage with the promise of security for her daughters. Unfortunately the family was separated and subjected to cruel abuse.
At the time of her admission on Jan. 18, Falak was suffering from two broken arms, a smashed skull, and was covered in human bite marks. She managed to survive five operations and was showing signs of improvement, according to doctors. Falak was actually due to be released soon but suddenly suffered cardiac arrest and passed away.
"The reasons that triggered the cardiac arrest are still not known. An autopsy will be conducted…and that may throw some light," said neurosurgeon Deepak Agrawal. "The atmosphere is very grim in the hospital because all the staff was emotionally attached to her," he told the Economic Times.
Raj Kumar was eventually arrested for the abuse; he claims he was Falak's foster father. Reports state that she was passed around to various people before the young girl brought her to the hospital. DNA tests are currently being performed to learn her true parentage.
Falak has been laid to rest; her mother, Munni, received the child's body and had her cremated. "Her mother had come over and was handed over the body at around 4:30 p.m. They then left the premises for the cremation," Dr. Agrawal told reporters.
Falak's story has captivated India and shed a bright spotlight on the plague of human trafficking. The United States has also been made aware of the epidemic destroying families and individuals in the country.
"As far as India is concerned, I have certainly raised this not only with (Indian) Ambassador Shankar but also with the Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna, as has Undersecretary Mario Otero, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Assistant Secretary Bob Blake," said Luis Cdebaca, Ambassador at Large in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
"We are heartened to see that India has finally characterized bonded human labor as part of their trafficking fight, but bridging the federal and state gap in India will be critical," Cdebaca told the Hindustan Times. "We're working with the Indians to use our experience…as an example of how they can deal with that problem."
Director of policy and government relations at Humanity United, David Abramowitz hopes that President Obama or First Lady Michelle will help raise international awareness of human trafficking in the country. "I think if, you know, the First Lady were to meet with Dalits while she was in India, that would have been amazing."
"If she were to meet with a Dalit population to talk about the importance of education, those kinds of steps can have an impact on raising issues in ways that are difficult to quantify but I think can have a real impact," Abramowitz told the Hindustan Times.