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LILY works in partnership with visionary individuals and organisations that work to prevent prostitution, with special emphasis on children, as well as rescue and rehabilitate victims. Rehabilitation includes medical attention, education, skills training and employment. The large-scale impact of our work is crucial of course, but it is the transformation of the single individual’s life that is so heart-warming. Lily’s life illustrates the worst aspects of this sordid trade. Lily was 4 when she was sold by her own mother, also a prostitute, for Rs. 5,000 (about £60). That’s the average price for buying a young girl in India. Indian brothels are brutal, vicious places. Newcomers who resist are starved, bound hand and foot and brutally beaten until they succumb. Those who resist too much are killed. Girls are fed drugs and alcohol to numb their senses so that they can service 20 to 30 customers daily.

A raid was mounted to rescue Lily from a Delhi brothel. Such raids quickly turn violent because the armed brothel owners and pimps resist. They also hide the children in specially-constructed places. Lily was discovered hidden in a water tank. The rescued victims suffer from severe mental and physical problems. Fractured bones, cigarette burns, slashing with blades, chilli powder attacks and other torture by customers are routine. The girls are homicidal and suicidal. Lily had to be nurtured and encouraged for 14 years to attend school and recover from the trauma, which is never forgotten. Now 19, she’s studying Economics and also sings well. Lily’s story epitomises our work and our hopes.

In 2012, we raised £280,782 and supported two main charities – Gram Niyojan in Rajasthan and Prajwala in Hyderabad. Altogether, we would have touched the lives of about 20,000 women and children. In 2013, we will support projects in Delhi, Rajasthan, Mysore and Goa in India and two projects in the UK.