From Mumbai red light district to St. Paul music camp? Not without a passport


A 16-year-old girl in the red light district of Mumbai hopes a summer music camp in Minnesota will help steer her life in a new direction. But passport problems threaten to keep her from making the trip at all.

The founder of a non-profit group that works with girls in the district tells India's Hindustan Times that Pinky Sheikh lacks an ID that's acceptable to the passport office.

The paper reports that Pinky's mother works in the sex industry and her father is dead. “How can we produce identification for a girl who doesn’t have a father and grew up in a red-light area?” asks Robin Chaurasiya, founder of the group Kranti.

Pinky has developed a love of music and dance and was accepted by "Songs of Hope," a performance camp that brings kids from around the world to St. Paul. Artistic Director Jeanne Junge tells the Times “Pinky submitted a thoughtful application and we were impressed with her answers.”

Passport officials say they're looking into the matter, but there's not much time since the camp starts next week.

Here's more on Kranti, the group that is advocating for Pinky.

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