When Selma was 13 years old, she was lured to a Mumbai brothel from Nepal by a man with the promise of a job with the circus. For five years, she was forced to work in a brothel until the owner died and she was freed.
Selma enrolled her daughter in school at The Salvation Army Aruna Girls Home to ensure her safety, and it was there that the staff motivated Selma to take computer classes. She was soon hired by The Salvation Army as an outreach worker for the drop-in center where she regularly visits women working in the brothels and in their homes, and conducts meetings. Her goal is to help trafficked women find solutions to their issues through Salvation Army programs. Selma takes joy in offering prayer and counseling to them.
“Because of the stigma of prostitution, women do not share their trials with others. I used to be afraid to share my story, but now, I am not afraid of what others think as long as my story might help another woman who can identify with me,” she said.
Now with five children of her own, she is grateful for the love, safety, and education they are receiving through the drop-in center and Aruna Girls Home.
And where outsiders might see despair, Selma sees a silver lining.
“I see so much hope in the red light district. When I go out into the community, I meet so many who have been trafficked from Nepal, like me. I always share with them that they too can come out of it and have a better life. Helping them has helped me.”