MUMBAI, INDIA – Today, a brothel keeper from a notorious Mumbai red-light district was convicted for sex trafficking crimes and sentenced to seven years in prison.
IJM helped police rescue three young women from the brothel in August 2010. Earlier this year, the trafficking survivors bravely chose to testify in the trial against the trafficker – facing her once again in the courtroom. The survivors recounted how they had been deceived and trafficked to a brothel Mumbai. In the brothel, they were forced to have sex with a dozen customers a day – and up to twenty customers on Sundays and holidays.
The survivors told the court that they were often gang raped by customers and beaten violently by the brothel keeper if they tried to refuse a customer. The customers paid the brothel keepers approximately $10 for one hour with a girl – and the girl received none of the money.
"The amount of torture that these girls endured in this brothel is indescribable," says Michelle Mendonca, IJM Mumbai's Director of Legal. She added that the public prosecutor and investigating officer worked diligently to develop the solid case, and she praised the judge's just ruling: "This case is a shining example of how the Indian justice system can take a firm stand against violent oppression."
When one of the survivors – only 16 years old when she was rescued – heard about the conviction, she was elated. Not only did the court honor her testimony, but, she says the conviction means the trafficker will not be able to perpetuate the crimes against other girls like her. "Now she will not be able to torture others the way she has damaged me," she said.