[Survivor Series] I’m having trouble repaying a loan I took out to save my son’s life
My name is Bhanupriya. I am 25 years old and I live in Chirala in Andhra Pradesh. I live in a rented house but have struggled to make ends meet since the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, I used to make ends meet as a sex worker. But now I face immense financial hardship due to containment and consequent restrictions by the government during the second wave. The restriction and preventive measures and protocols applied by the state, including restrictions on the mobility of people, meant that there were no customers, which had a significant impact on our income.
Ration kits that were distributed to sex workers in wave one came to a halt in wave two as governments focused on the overburdened health system
In addition to having no source of income, which means that we can barely make ends meet, my son fell very ill during confinement. He needs medication and regular check-ups by the doctor, which has been very expensive.
I had no choice but to take a loan of Rs. 60,000 / – from a private money lender named Apparao at an interest of Rs. 7 percent rupees. I have trouble repaying the loan, but it always comes back to us every time I miss an interest payment and makes a lot of noise in front of the neighbors. He becomes very abusive and threatens to evict us or take all our belongings, including utensils.
But, I am helpless because there are no jobs available and I am not even able to repay the interest besides the loan amount.
I also know that I am not alone in this case. Many people did, many of whom were survivors of sex trafficking, and sex workers were forced to take out loans to support and feed their families. During the first wave, we had access to free rations and cash assistance from the government. In the second wave we got nothing because I think everyone focused on the health system. People like me have been forced to take out unreasonable loans that we all struggle to repay every day.
All we can do is take one day at a time to survive.