MUMBAI, INDIA – In back-to-back rescue operations this week, IJM helped local police to rescue several girls from their suspected traffickers.
First, IJM Mumbai received intelligence of a potential trafficking case: A mother was desperate to save her daughter, anxious that she had been trafficked to a town a few hours away. Although IJM had not worked in the particular region before, the team believed that the intelligence was strong enough – and that the risk to this young girl was great enough – to launch an immediate investigation.
A team of IJM investigators, lawyers and social workers mobilized quickly, successfully locating the apartment where they believed the young girl was trapped. Law enforcement officials arrived on the scene within fifteen minutes to investigate. They entered the building and found two young women – but not the daughter they were searching for.
IJM partnered with the police to secure the rescue of these two women, and began to act on additional evidence uncovered by the law enforcement officials. Based on what they had found, IJM moved quickly with the police to a nearby location. They found nine more young women – among them, the girl the team had been trying to locate.
At the police station, the anxious mother was reunited with her daughter.
"Despite the long distance our staff had to travel and the stress of a 48-hour investigation, they persevered and never wavered in their bravery and commitment to see this rescue operation to the end," said IJM Mumbai's Director of Investigations. He added that the investigation will continue so that the traffickers are brought to account.
The day after they were rescued, the trafficking survivors were laughing and smiling with the IJM social worker even as she accompanied the brave young women to the hospital. They told IJM staff that they are eager to return to their families. Until this journey home can be arranged, they will stay in a protective home in Mumbai.