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Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a small village in Nepal. Though she is desperately poor, her life is full of simple pleasures, like playing hopscotch with her best friend from school and having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when the harsh Himalayan monsoons wash away all the family's crops, Lakshmi's stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family. He introduces her to a glamorous stranger who tells Lakshmi she will find her a job as a maid in the city. Glad to help, Lakshmi journeys to India, only to learn the unthinkable truth; she has been sold into prostitution. An old woman named Mumtaz rules the brothel with cruelty and cunning. She tells Lakshmi that she is trapped there until she can pay off her family's debt--then cheats Lakshmi of her meager earnings so that she can never leave. Gradually, Lakshmi forms friendships with the other girls that enable her to survive in this terrifying new world. Then the day comes when she must make a decision--will she risk everything for a chance to reclaim her life?