She was a just small girl when she witnessed her 12-year-old sister forced into sex work and harassed by "customers" her father brought home. "Shanu," we'll call her, was terrified. She desperately wanted a way out before she turned 12, when this way of life would become her only future, too. Before we are quick to judge, stopping sex trafficking can be complex. This work has been her family's lot in life for hundreds of years.
Central India is home to the Banchada people, a population of some 100,000 who belong to one of India's lowest castes. Deprived of basic development opportunities starting at least 500 years ago, their primary source of income — accommodating ruling caste demand — still remains the sex trade.