Finding the Coco Bombay Ladies

Dawn Schuster

Posted on February 03 2018

Finding the Coco Bombay Ladies

After a year of preparation, I was finally ready to start my dream of making Coco Bombay a truly Fair Trade company. I have had many extraordinary experiences around the world, and become close to many amazing people who have experienced great suffering, however on my journeys it was the way that I saw women being treated that deeply affected me the most. In India, many baby girls are drowned as the family do not want them, and it is completely accepted for women to be beaten, raped and abused. In villages, women cannot go to the toilets as they are almost sure to be raped. What makes this even worse is that there is no sign of it getting any better, as there was a 277% increase in rapes seen in Delhi in 2017.

As I researched more about these subjects I realised that India has a shocking amount of human trafficking, where women are tricked and forced into prostitution. Despite popular belief, there are more human slaves in the world today than ever before in history, with girls being trapped by Madams and Mafia into lives of misery and torture.

If I wanted to help these girls, I would need to find people who could help me as I did not even know where to start. It was totally by chance that I was looking on the Instagram of ‘Humans of Bombay’ and I came across a photo of a woman working on a sewing machine. Her story told how she had escaped prostitution and had been saved by an NGO where they had helped her and her children. She explained that they are now training her and other girls in skills so that they can make new lives for themselves. This was exactly what I had been looking for! I called them straight away and arranged to start work as soon as I got to India.


A few hours after arriving in Mumbai I went to the office where a small team are relentlessly working day and night to help girls escape prostitution. Currently there are two girls, Aruna and Nalini who are working with me. They had already made PERFECT samples for me and the smiles on their faces and desire to succeed was so incredibly inspiring. After going through such unimaginable suffering they are so determined to fight. I cannot wait to get to know them better, learn more about their stories and to become their friends. I feel honored to be in the presence of such strong, amazing women. (P.s faces are blurred as some of the girls do not want their faces shown for the fear of being caught and forced back into prostitution).

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