Two young girls talked with The Bhutanese on how they became commercial sex workers under the same female pimp in Thimphu and managed to get out of it.
The Bhutanese could meet these girls due to help from a member of an advocacy group.
In 2016 the first young girl from Pemagatshel came to Thimphu with the hopes of finding a decent job and helping her family. She had completed her class X in 2014 and her parents could not afford further private education. She did not want to study either.
But her dreams turned into a nightmare.
She said, “I did not get into the business by choice, everything happened because of my cousin sister who is four to five years younger to me”, she said, adding that her cousin sister encouraged her to resign from her previous work.
“After I resigned I stayed with my cousin along with my other two friends. My cousin used to carry lots of money though she did not have any decent job and I always felt her family was sending her money,” she added. “I never thought my cousin was working as a prostitute or as a pimp.”
The group led by her cousin started staying in a hotel and one night she was asked to come in one room by her cousin and there she saw an elderly man.
“My cousin asked me to talk with the man and latched the door from outside. The man started touching and kissing me. I screamed, I shouted and I tried to protect myself but I landed up being ‘used’ by that man forcefully.”
Since then, she said that she had to depend on her cousin who provided her food, clothing and shelter. She worked with her cousin for seven months and never got paid. “My cousin looked for the customers and she took all the money in advance, she never gave us a single penny. I tried to fight back but she used to blackmail me with many issues whereby I had keep shut,” she said. “She was our pimp, she fixed us with customers and we had to go wherever she sent us, to party halls, Drayangs and in hotel rooms.”
She also said that she was taken to Jaigaon by her cousin sister and put into business with non-Bhutanese gamblers.
She said that, in seven months’ time, approximately she slept with 15 elderly men, adding that no youths had come to them as customers. “The customers I had were all men with job and money,” she added.
Then she met a man who was good to her and helped her get out of the business. She is today a mother of a 10-month old baby.
Similarly, a 16-year-old girl from Gelephu, who left school after class VIII said she got into the business because of the unhappy conditions at home.
“My father gave preference to my two brothers and he never let me and sister go out of house. My father even tried to rape my half sister whereby she left the house after many fights. My mom used to stay out most of the time since she runs a business.”
She decided to leave the house and make a living on her own. She met a pimp through her friend who bullied, tortured and blackmailed her emotionally.
“I don’t know how and when I landed up in such business,” she said.
The pimp use to make all the girls stand in a line and customers would select. Most customers chose her, as she was the youngest.
“Sometime in a day I had to go with two to three different customers,” she said.
She would request the pimp to excuse her but she would warn her saying if she did not go with the customers her parents would be informed of her work.
She also said that the pimp would ask her to sit with the customers in club and make her drink forcefully.
“I work with no option, but I never got anything in return, not a single penny. With money the pimp got after selling us, she spent it on her boyfriend, drugs and on drinks. She spent a very little amount on us, buying cloths, food and lodging”, she said.
She also said that though she was never paid anything the pimp would check her thoroughly that if she came across any money she would snatch it.
“The pimp is in wanted list, she is not here in Thimphu, which is why we are free and I am staying with my parents as of now,” she said. “Life was difficult until I got back home.”
The RBP is looking for the pimp who hails from Pemagatshel.