Before they were sold to the same brothel, Sayeda and Anjali were typical teenagers, growing up in similar circumstances a few hundred miles apart: Sayeda in the city of Khulna in Bangladesh, and Anjali in Siliguri in West Bengal, India.
They nurtured the aspirations of teenagers everywhere—to get out from under their parents, to find love, to start living out their dreams. Both were naive about the world and couldn’t have imagined the cruelties it had in store.
Raised in a tiny two-room house in a squalid neighborhood, Sayeda spent much of her childhood on her own. Her mother would rise early and leave for the day to clean shops in New Market, one of Khulna’s commercial districts. Sayeda’s father was a cycle-rickshaw driver, ferrying passengers for a pittance. A struggling student, Sayeda dropped out of school before her teens, despite her mother’s admonishments that trouble would befall her.