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Mahila's Story

IJM February 2023 Mahila Story Page Banner Image

Once trafficked, now using her voice for justice.

Help rescue and restore girls like Mahila

Mahila* was trapped in darkness. At just 13 years old, she was sold by someone she trusted to a brothel, where she was sexually exploited and abused. The violence she endured every day was unimaginable.

The brothel keeper wouldn’t allow Mahila to leave the building, for fear the young girl would attract attention to her abuse. She was cut off from the outside world. She stopped trying to keep track of time. She stopped dreaming of escaping to a better life.

But IJM began investigating the neighborhood around the brothel. Working with local police, IJM conducted a rescue mission and freed Mahila and another girl from their captivity.

Worldwide, millions of people are trafficked for sex every year — including nearly 1.7 million children.

Give now to help rescue and restore girls like Mahila.

Mahila first moved to a government–run aftercare shelter and then to a private shelter home. IJM social workers met with her multiple times each week to help her process her trauma. It took some time, but Mahila developed new goals for her life. Despite everything she’d been through, her spirit began to thrive again.

Mahila was determined to build a better life. She learned tailoring and embroidering so she could support herself, and she worked a full-time job while she completed her education.

In February 2022, Mahila became the first survivor of sex trafficking in an IJM case to become a lawyer. This brave young woman has turned her pain into strength. She is ensuring that other vulnerable people have an advocate they can trust.

“I am who I am today only because of IJM,” Mahila says. “You all are my roots and support on which I’m standing today. Whatever I have achieved in my life … is because of my IJM family. Thank you so much.”

Help IJM work with law enforcement partners worldwide to free victims of sex trafficking. Together we can help restore survivors and bring criminals to justice.

*To protect IJM survivors, we have used pseudonyms, obscured some images and included photos that do not depict actual victims where appropriate. Consent gathered for all images.

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