CLAIRE PHILLIPS

Contemporary Portrait Artist


 

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Reema

100 x 150 cm
oil on canvas

Seventeen year old Reema had been rescued from domestic slavery just two days before I met her in Delhi. She described how her parents lived in poverty in Bihar. When she was 13 they were persuaded that she would have a good education and a better life if she went with the traffickers. They would send money back to help feed her 5 siblings.

Reema and 4 other girls from the village were taken by an agent, split up and sent to work as domestic maids for long hours in private houses. On her day off Reema was kept as a prisoner by the agent, beaten, abused and sexually assaulted. She was threatened with acid in the face if she ran away or told anyone the truth about her situation. She received no pay for her 4 years of work.

Eventually, when she was 17, Reema plucked up courage, sneaked out of her employer’s house in the early hours of the morning and contacted her brother. Even then, when she went to the police they told her to go back to the agency. Eventually she came across BBA who are now supporting her in prosecuting the agency and claiming back the 4 years of pay. Although Reema is desperate to go home, she has decided to remain in Delhi until she has tracked down and liberated the 4 other girls trafficked with her.