In a nearby village, Saeeda* holds her youngest daughter as she talks about how she was brought to Haryana 20 years ago with her sister.
“I only know that I arrived in Haryana when I was 11,” she says. “I was brought here with my sister but I haven’t seen her since we arrived.”
She was sold to Azim, a widower 20 years older who already had six children by his first wife. She says she was beaten by her husband and his family. “They wanted me to obey them, and if I objected they always had the same words for me: ‘We own you because we bought you.’”
Saeeda was visited by activists from Empower People who told her what rights she had as a wife and mother. Now, her husband has agreed to give her a property in her name, which means that she and her children are secure if Azim dies before she does.
Many paros, she says, are thrown out of the family home when they are widowed. Her home has become a meeting place and refuge for the other paro women living in her village, and she also helps others in her wider community who have been trafficked into marriage.
“Now I have enough courage to fight,” she says.