Prostitution exists everywhere and is looked at differently from one place to another with the sale of sex being the only constant. Prostitution in Goa had one look when Baina in Vasco was in vogue and has another since the place has been demolished, but the trade carries on.
“The menace of prostitution is not that bad after Covid-19. People are now scared to go out, and we ourselves have had to be extra cautious. Our mission is to help all sexually exploited women wanting to come out of prostitution. This work will never stop,” says Sr Margily Kompan, superior of the Sisters Adorers in Nuvem.
Over two hundred women who were sexually exploited, many who were trafficked, have spent days at the Navajyothi Rehabilitation Centre in Nuvem before starting life all over again.
“Many things that God does for us are unexplainable. God’s goodness can never be measured and that explains how the girls get out of the grip of vice to live fulfilling lives thereafter,” muses Sr Kompan who at 70 has seen the pain and peace in women who have passed through the doors of the many centres run by the congregation the world over.
Women become prostitutes because for many it is the easiest way to make money. This is because they have no one to guide them properly or simply because the pleasure is tempting.
“For some women, the contact with men is irresistible and the frills that come with it are too tempting. It turns out to be a sort of an unnatural style of living that excites some till they realise the wrong, and it gets addictive,” reasons Sr Kompan.
There was a time, according to the sisters of the congregation, when girls were rescued and brought by the police or the sisters would themselves through their interactions show the women another world.
“Before the pandemic, sisters would go out in civilian clothes; observe women in pain; build relationships and after constant meetings invite them over to the centre wherein would begin another journey,” recollects Sr Kompan as she lists memories of girls getting married, going abroad to work and some even finishing their education to start afresh.
“God looks at our efforts. He is not looking at whether one is successful but whether we are good. Part of being good is seeing the good in others. All who come and go through our doors do so because they see the goodness in themselves,” thinks Sr Kompan.
“My ways are not your ways, is God’s saying to us,” retorts Sr Kompan when asked why some women have to go through the grind of prostitution while others have not.
“We brought a girl to the centre and after rehabilitation, got her married. One day we heard she had run away from her husband. We tracked her and found her in the red light area of Mumbai and after a while she returned. Her husband took her back, and they are living happily now,” discloses Sr Kompan.
The running away and getting together of the couple, according to sisters from Sisters Adorers, is part of the plan of God that they as his disciples follow with unflinching faith.
“We tend to think too much and that makes our thought process complicated. Just a constant reminder of our relationship with God, which no one else can understand, is enough. What does it cost to say thank you God?” asks Sr Kompan.
The Sisters Adorers in Nuvem look after the girls for free; give them free education and once they start working do not expect anything back from them.
“Once they start work, we get them to open a bank account to start saving as we organise boys to get them married,” says Sr Kompan.
Andrea (name changed) is in her thirties at the centre, and despite starting work has the desire to go and see her son who lives elsewhere. “We encourage her to not just visit him but spend some days with him because the bond needs to be nurtured,” thinks Sr Kompan.
Breaking the sexual exploitation of women and offering them an olive sautéed with the goodness of God was the dream of Saint Maria Micaela for the organisation of the Sisters Adorers she established in 1856.
Today, her thousand followers all over the world, like Sr Margily Kompan, Sr Elcy Vembanadan and many others believe that with God with them, “They have the courage and strength for everything.”
Till then, those women who have strayed, will not feel alone.