Editor’s note: Davinder Kumar is an award-winning development journalist and a Chevening Human Rights Scholar. He works for children's rights organization Plan International. On October 11, International Day of the Girl, Plan International launches its global campaign "Because I am a Girl," dedicated to improving girls' education. The girls' names have been changed to protect their identities.
By Davinder Kumar, Special to CNN
Prakasam, Andhra Pradesh, India - As evening falls, the girls get restless. Huddled in a group, some go very quiet, while others become agitated. The large hall of residence fills with an atmosphere of fear and anxiety.
One of the girls breaks down as she recounts her experience at the Hyderabad brothel she was rescued from just a few days ago: For two weeks she says she was kept sedated and offered to clients in a comatose state before she was allowed a meal.
As the horrific details of her ordeal unfold, the room collapses into turmoil. Overcome with emotion, 14-year-old Jyothi is wheezing and struggling to draw her breath because she’s crying so hard;16-year-old Kavya is also inconsolable; Vijayalaxmi is banging her head on the wall, and other girls are shaking, swaying back and forth. All are crying. One account triggers another. Some mutter to themselves while others jostle to be heard.
The scenes at this transit home for girls in the Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh, India, are harrowing. Girls as young as 13 are brought here for temporary refuge after they have been rescued from sex traffickers and brothels in big cities like Hyderabad and Mumbai. Each has suffered varying degrees of abuse, torture, slavery and inhumane treatment.