Poverty Forces Former Sport Champion into Flesh Trade

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 10 2009 1:15 PM

Nisha Shetty, who once held her head high with the pride of winning a silver medal at the national level, is hiding her face underneath the scarf with shame.

Six years after winning the medal for a high jump, Shetty finds herself locked in Raipur Women's Prison after she was caught in a sex racket.

Abject poverty, unemployment and her husband's death in 2007 forced the former athlete into the flesh trade who needed money to raise her five-year-old child and fulfilling her daily needs.

Prostitution was the only way left for the 26-year-old mother to turn to after she was unable to land a job for herself despite having a shining sports background.

She was caught along with two other girls and three boys including a pimp from a posh colony in Devendra Nagar in Raipur.

Her sports background was discovered during a police interrogation.

"During interrogation, one girl said that she was a national champion. She was a long and high jump champion," said Manisha Thakur, District Superintendent Police, Women's Jail.

Shetty who hails from Assam represented the state in athletics at the national games in 1998. This is where she met her late husband, a football player, and got married to him later.

He died due to kidney failure after he became alcoholic and suffered from depression for not being able to find a job.

Shetty who had dreamt of a bright career following her achievements is only faced by harsh realities of life and no financial support from anywhere.

A sobbing Nisha in the Women's Prison tells a reporter that all her past achievements, certificates and medals are not able to get her two meals a day.

"I have many medals at the regional level and one at the national level. I got a silver medal at the national level,' said Shetty.

A court has granted her bail due to enormous public support in her favour. However, she is still in the jail, as she doesn't have Rs. 10,000 for executing a bond.